Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.
Several general principles are important for effective management of intellectual property (IP) rights in Pakistan. First, it is important to have an overall strategy to protect your IP. Second, IP is protected differently in Pakistan than in the U.S. Third, rights must be registered and enforced in Pakistan, under local laws. Your U.S. trademark and patent registrations will not protect you in Pakistan. There is no “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the entire world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends wholly on national law. However, most countries do offer copyright protection to foreign works under certain conditions, and these conditions have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions.
Registration of patents and trademarks is on a first-in-time, first-in-right basis, so you should consider applying for trademark and patent protection even before selling your products or services in the Pakistan market. It is vital that companies understand that intellectual property is primarily a private right and that the U.S. government generally cannot enforce rights for private individuals in Pakistan. It is the responsibility of the rights’ holders to register, protect, and enforce their rights where relevant, retaining their own counsel and advisers. Companies may wish to seek advice from local attorneys or IP consultants who are experts in Pakistani law. The U.S. Commercial Service can provide a list of local lawyers upon request.
While the U.S. government stands ready to assist, little can be done if the rights holders have not taken these fundamental steps necessary to securing and enforcing their IP in a timely fashion. Moreover, in many countries, rights holders who delay enforcing their rights on a mistaken belief that the U.S. government can provide a political resolution to a legal problem may find that their rights have been eroded or abrogated due to legal doctrines such as statutes of limitations, laches, estoppel, or unreasonable delay in prosecuting a law suit. In no instance should U.S. government advice be seen as a substitute for the obligation of a rights holder to promptly pursue its case.
It is always advisable to conduct due diligence on potential partners. Negotiate from the position of your partner and give your partner clear incentives to honor the contract. A good partner is an important ally in protecting IP rights. Consider carefully, however, whether to permit your partner to register your IP rights on your behalf. Doing so may create a risk that your partner will list itself as the IP owner and fail to transfer the rights should the partnership end. Keep an eye on your cost structure and reduce the margins (and the incentive) of would-be bad actors. Projects and sales in Pakistan require constant attention. Work with legal counsel familiar with Pakistan laws to create a solid contract that includes non-compete clauses, and confidentiality/non-disclosure provisions. The Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan is the government of Pakistan’s focal point for IP issues.
In any foreign market companies should consider several general principles for effective management of their intellectual property. For background on these principles please link to our article on Protecting Intellectual Property.
IP Attaché Contact
The U.S. Commerce Department has positioned IP attachés in key markets around the world. You can get contact information for the IP attaché in India, who also covers Pakistan at:
Senior IP Specialists
Komal Kalha: email@example.com
Shilpi Jha: firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Patent and Trade Mark Office
Embassy of the United States of America
American Center, 24, Kasturba Gandhi Marg
New Delhi 110 001, India
Tel: +91 11 2347 2000 ext. 2101
Direct Dial: +91 11 2347 2101
Fax: +91 11 2331 4564