ISLAMABAD - Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan has directed the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) to develop the National IP Strategy and expedite work on pending amendments in legislations related to trademarks, patents, copy rights and industrial design.

The minister made these remarks while receiving presentation from the IPO chairman after the organisation was placed under the administrative control of Ministry of Commerce on July 25.

The proposal for placing the IPO under the ministry’s control was put forward in the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF 2015-18) which was approved by the prime minister in March this year.

Commenting on the placement of IPO under the Ministry of Commerce’s nose, the minister said that this would support innovation and creation of marketable and exportable IP products, promote exports, spur economic development and bring foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.

The minister was informed that the new web portal of the IPO would be launched in August, and would enable the organisation to offer online services to the public and thereby improve its service delivery.

“All the historical record of the IPO is digitized and over six million pages of IP applications are available in digital form,” he was told.

Dastgir directed the IPO management to exercise due caution before acceding to international treaties relating to IP such as Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), International System for Registration of Patents, Madrid Protocol-International System for Registration of Trademarks and internet treaties like World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).

IPO Director General Shahid Lateef informed the minister that due to effective coordination with enforcement agencies and practical measures taken by IPO, the United States had removed Pakistan from Priority Watch List in 2016 while India and China were still on that list.

“This is a great achievement and indicates the trust the US authorities repose in the recent legislative and administrative measures taken by the Government of Pakistan in this field,” he added.

The minister also directed the IPO to keep a close liaison with the WIPO to seek latest information about the IPR negotiations and enhance the capacity building of officers of IPO Pakistan.

He stressed the need for working hard for the promotion of soft image of Pakistan worldwide by protecting IPRs.

“It is responsibility of all the stakeholders in the public and private sectors to provide such an environment in the country which could be conducive for creativity and stringent for piracy and counterfeiting,” he said.