‘$156mn trade loss in 2009 due to piracy’

Int'l Conf on In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Rights told

The Financial Daily - - NATIONAL -

KARACHI: The pro­tec­tion of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty (IP) in a coun­try like Pak­istan has as­sumed para­mount im­por­tance as IP theft in var­i­ous forms has reached stu­pen­dous heights, this was stated by Kalim A Siddiqui, Pres­i­dent Pe­tro­leum Mar­ket­ing Busi­ness, Byco Pe­tro­leum Pak­istan Lim­ited.

He said this while de­liv­er­ing his key­note ad­dress as guest of hon­our at In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Rights (IPR).

Siddiqui in his ad­dress said the mag­ni­tude of the IP prob­lem could be judged from the fact that the gov- ern­ment is los­ing Ru­pees nine bil­lion an­nu­ally or Rs.25 mil­lion per day be­cause coun­ter­feit­ers do not pay gen­eral sales tax, ex­cise duty, in­come tax, or any other in­come whose col­lec­tion is the due right of the gov­ern­ment.

He said that Pak­istan has suf­fered $156 mil­lion trade losses dur­ing the year 2009 due to piracy in record and mu­sic, books and busi­ness soft­ware in­dus­try ar­eas.

The Byco Pe­tro­leum chief quoted the re­cent fig­ures of Anti Coun­ter­feit­ing In­fringe­ment Fo­rum (ACIF) ac­cord­ing to which 60 per­cent of the con­sumer goods in the coun­try are sub­stan­dard. Ev­ery year most fa­mous brands lose seven to 20 per­cent sales.

Fig­ures of ACIF fur­ther re­vealed that in oil and lu­bri­cant in­dus­try an­nual rev­enue loss to gov­ern­ment is Rs 1600 mil­lion; cig­a­rette in­dus­try an­nual rev­enue loss to gov­ern­ment is ap­prox­i­mately Rs 500 mil­lion and Rs 800 mil­lion rev­enue losses to com­pa­nies; books and pub­lish­ing in­dus­try rev­enue loss to gov­ern­ment is Rs 40 mil­lion, said key­note speaker of the moot.

The vet­eran of pe­tro­leum in­dus­try said that in Pak­istan, piracy lev­els in cable tele­vi­sion, mu­sic and soft­ware are more than 90%, re­sult­ing in over US $1 bil­lion loss in tax rev­enues.

He said that strong IP pro- tec­tion is needed in Pak­istan to at­tract for­eign in­vest­ments in the form of money and re­sources. Tech­nol­ogy trans­fer from other coun­tries to Pak­istan also re­quires the for­mu­la­tion and en­force­ment of a strin­gent IP regime. Com­pa­nies abroad would sel­dom trans­fer ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy or in­vest in pro­duc­tion or re­search and de­vel­op­ment fa­cil­i­ties in coun­tries where their prod­ucts are copied or tech­nol­ogy is stolen, he said.

He said that pro­tect­ing IP is cru­cial to the sur­vival and long-term growth of any busi­ness en­ter­prise or the over­all de­vel­op­ment of a nation

Siddiqui said that coun- ter­feit­ing and piracy jeop­ar­dises healthy competition in an econ­omy and dis­torts eco­nomic growth. As il­le­git­i­mate op­er­a­tors save mil­lions on re­search, de­vel­op­ment and mar­ket­ing costs, le­git­i­mate com­pa­nies strug­gle to com­pete with coun­ter­feit­ers in price-sen­si­tive mar­kets. More­over, there is a close nexus be­tween in­creased piracy and coun­ter­feit­ing, and or­gan­ised crime, opined Kalim Siddiqui.

He was of the opin­ion that IP theft smoth­ers in­no­va­tion and dis­cour­ages sin­cere in­vestors from in­vest­ing in prod­uct and mar­ket de­vel­op­ment. The phe­nom­e­non also deeply af­fects the knowl­edge-based sec­tors, for which IP is the essence of their suc­cess, sur­vival, and growth. Coun­ter­feit­ing and piracy also af­fects a coun­try's ex­ports and ham­pers the na­tional econ­omy, he said.

Other speak­ers of the in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence said that it is not merely the gov­ern­ment's ac­tion or leg­is­la­tions, which could pro­tect and pro­mote prod­ucts and rights re­lated to in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty but it is the peo­ple's mind­set and attitude, which should be changed for com­bat­ing the men­aces of coun­ter­feit­ing and piracy.

The speak­ers said that dras­tic and rev­o­lu­tion­ary steps are re­quired in other walks of life too in or­der to re­place the ram­pant cul­ture of de­pen­dence on pi­rated and coun­ter­feit goods in the so­ci­ety. They said that by con­sum­ing pi­rated goods, we as a nation are not do­ing jus­tice to cre­ative and in­tel­lec­tual fra­ter­nity of the coun­try.

They fur­ther said that IPR-re­lated law en­force­ment mech­a­nism in the coun­try should be re­designed in or­der to ef­fec­tively com­bat the men­ace of coun­ter­feit­ing and piracy in the coun­try.

Au­di­ence of the con­fer­ence was in­formed that be­fore April 2005 the man­age­ment of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty in Pak­istan was frag­mented be­tween three gov­ern­ment min­istries and this divi­sion and frag­men­ta­tion de­tracted much from the ef­fi­cacy of the coun­try's IP sys­tem. As a re­sult, the IP sit­u­a­tion in Pak­istan, ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­na­tional per­cep­tions, was con­stantly de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. In or­der to cor­rect this un­de­sir­able sit­u­a­tion, the gov­ern­ment de­cided to es­tab­lish an um­brella or­ga­ni­za­tion i.e. In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Pak­istan (IPO) to in­te­grate, con­sol­i­date, and up­grade the IP in­fra­struc­ture in Pak­istan.

Par­tic­i­pants of the moot were fur­ther in­formed that the es­tab­lish­ment of IPOPak­istan was also aimed at ad­dress­ing the in­sti­tu­tional short­com­ings that were pre­vi­ously im­ped­ing efficient man­age­ment of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty in Pak­istan.

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