‘$156mn trade loss in 2009 due to piracy’
Int'l Conf on Intellectual Property Rights told
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.