Recognizing Pakistan’s positive progress on the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) the United States has moved the country from the Special 301 “Priority Watch List” to “Watch List with an Out-of-Cycle Review”.
This has been reported in the Special 301 Report, an annual review of the state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement in U.S. trading partners around the world, which is published by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
The report says the movement is largely due to Pakistan’s efforts to improve intellectual property protection and enforcement including implementing key provisions of the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan Act of 2012.
These efforts include establishing intellectual property tribunals, establishing a timeline for the amendment of major IPR laws, imminent implementation of the Federal Board of Revenue’s IP Enforcement Rules, undertaking public awareness programs on IPR protection, and committing to continue regular, action-oriented engagement with the U.S. government and stakeholders.
In the Special 301 Report, the United States expresses deep concern over reports of high rates of counterfeiting and piracy in Pakistan, particularly in the areas of pharmaceuticals, printed materials, optical media, digital content, and software. Pakistan has the opportunity to address many of these concerns through forthcoming legislative amendments on patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
The Out-of-Cycle Review will look at Pakistan’s progress through the end of 2016. It will evaluate whether Pakistan meets the timelines it announced for the IPR reforms described in the report, as well as Pakistan’s progress on addressing long-standing IPR concerns, providing effective enforcement against IPR infringement, and ensuring IPR tribunals successfully provide efficient and effective results for rights holders.
Intellectual property protection is critical to fostering innovation. Without the protection of ideas, businesses and individuals would not reap the full benefits of their inventions and would focus less on research and development. Similarly, artists would not be fully compensated for their creations and cultural vitality would suffer as a result.