Intellectual Property Rights

The term Intellectual Property refers broadly to the creations of the human mind. Intellectual Property is divided into two categories: Industrial Property includes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications. Copyright covers literary works (such as novels, poems and plays), films, music, artistic works (e.g., drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures) and architectural designs. Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Folklore are non-conventional forms of Intellectual Property. The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1967 gives the following list of the subject matter protected by Intellectual Property Rights: literary, artistic and scientific works; performances of performing artists, phonograms, and broadcasts; inventions in all fields of human endeavor; scientific discoveries; industrial designs; trademarks, service marks, and commercial names and designations; protection against unfair competition; and “all other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields.” The importance of protecting Intellectual Property was first recognized in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1883 and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works in 1886. Both treaties are administered by the WIPO. The Intellectual Property Rights are also outlined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides for the right to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests resulting from authorship of scientific, literary or artistic productions. The Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992 represents a commitment by nations to conserve biological diversity, to use biological resources sustainably, and to share the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources as Intellectual Property fairly and equitably with the local communities.

Intellectual Property Rights protect the interests of creators by giving them property rights over their creations. Many industrialized nations have intellectual property protection systems that are centuries old. Among developing countries, however, many are in the process of building up their patent, trademark and copyright legal frameworks and intellectual property systems. With the increasing globalization of trade and rapid changes in technological innovation, WIPO plays a key role in helping these systems to evolve through treaty negotiation; legal and technical assistance; and training in various forms, including in the area of enforcement. Intellectual Property Rights have traditionally been a significant bilateral trade issue between the United States and Pakistan. Pakistan suffers an estimated Rs 20 billion loss in sales tax per year, due to piracy of intellectual property in various forms. United States Business Software Companies lose 146 million $ annually for software piracy in Pakistan. United States Trade Representative (USTR), has placed Pakistan at the priority watch list of non-compliant countries, for committing violations of intellectual property rights, which deters foreign trade investments in the country. However, Pakistani government has demonstrated its commitment for protecting Intellectual Property Rights by establishing Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) in 2005, as a specialized organization for integrated Intellectual Property management, under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister. IPO Pakistan has been working to raise awareness of Intellectual Property Rights and enforce them within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).