In the increasingly knowledge-driven economy, Intellectual Property (IP) is a key consideration in day-to-day business decisions. New products, brands and creative designs appear almost daily on the market and are the result of continuous human innovation and creativity. According to an independent survey, Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) rank among one of the top bottlenecks in a countrys economic stability. Some other major problems include corruption, kickbacks, tax evasion, wrong decision making and unbalanced prioritisation of the national economic policies. To improve IPRs situation in Pakistan, the government is taking proactive measures to protect them because the country is annually losing over Rs10 billion in direct/indirect taxes due to counterfeiting and infringement in various sectors and consumer goods, including tobacco, medicines, etc. Although the international opinion about the protection of IPRs in Pakistan has remained pessimistic in the past, but considerable improvement has been witnessed since the formation of IPRs organisation in 2005. Measures like restructuring the Intellectual Property Rights Organisation (IPO) and taking over it by PM Yousuf Raza Gilani shows the governments commitment to build a positive image of the country by enforcing the 1PRs laws. For instance, IPO Pakistans campaign to enforce these laws has been seen as a great success, as a result of which the FIA recovered 367,252 pirated DVDs and CDs, along with the manufacturing equipment, and arrested of 56 people across the country. This has indeed brought respect to Pakistan. The Vice President of World IPRs organisation, Jeffrey Yu, acknowledged the efforts made by the government to prioritise the IPRs issue, while emphasising that Pakistan still needs to do more. Also, the situation of IPRs globally is not encouraging. The violation of the IPR laws, particularly piracy and counterfeiting, has emerged today as a major international problem, inflicting huge loss to the general public and to the national exchequers of the countries affected by the menace. The evil practice hampers the economic development of societies by discouraging legitimate investments on the one hand, and on the other depriving the affected nations of the much needed new job opportunities and income from duties and taxes. In Third World countries, the illicit trade in pirated and counterfeit products aggravates economic deprivation and ever-expanding poverty. The huge dimension of this illegal trade may be judged from the fact that in 2003, the World Economic Forum estimated the annual cost of piracy and counterfeiting at 450 billion Euros. In a meeting held in London on October 4, 2005, the CEOs of some of the worlds top companies warned: This illegal activity, estimated at $600 billion, is threatening the knowledge-based economy of the 21 century. According to a global study, against the 10 percent some five decades ago now over 50 percent products are affected by the violation of IPRs laws. In other words, there has been a 500 percent increase in the incidence of IPR violations or on the sale of fake, substandard, pirated and counterfeit products, over the last 50 years, raising dramatically the need to protect the people and products from counterfeiting and associated challenges. The citizens in the low and middle income groups, particularly in developing countries like Pakistan, are the main target of counterfeiters and producers of fake brands. Often, common people buy substandard products because of the price difference, as counterfeit products are much cheaper than the genuine ones. However, substandard items badly affect the health of the consumers. More so, fake medicines are flooding the pharmacies in the rural areas where not more than 10 percent of the standard drugs can be found. Therefore, if we need to build the countrys image, we will have to guarantee that the IPR laws are implemented and the culprits are not only discouraged, but also brought to justice. In this respect, the government and all the stakeholders, especially the private sector, NGOs and media, will have to play their due role to clean the society from pirated and counterfeited products. It is time that the government and the private sector join hands to eradicate this evil so that Pakistan becomes, in reality, an attractive place for business growth with bright prospects for effective tapping of the consumer market at the regional and international level. The government needs to encourage those business houses, enterprises and industrial groups, who, despite all odds, have kept the national flag high on international economic fronts through their products and services. To me, they are real heroes of the society and deserve recognition of the government. Creating Pakistans soft image through brand development should be the national slogan for the year 2011-2012 and the government must devise new policy reforms that in fact are the need of the hour for Pakistans economic renaissance. The writer is the Vice President of SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry.