‘Combating counterfeiting, piracy needs public consent’

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KARACHI – The mindset and attitude of the people need to be changed for combating the menace of counterfeiting and piracy, as it is not merely the government’s action or legislation that can protect the products of intellectual property.
These views were expressed by speakers at the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Conference 2011 organised on Saturday by Global Media Links in collaboration with Business Milestones. The theme of the conference was ‘IPR: An international perspective, realisation, and implementation; and counterfeiting and piracy issues related to intellectual property.’
The speakers – representing government, corporate, industrial, and technology sectors of the country – shed light on law enforcement, legislative and social issues hampering appropriate protection and upholding of IPR in the society. They were of the view that government, non-governmental organisations and the private sector in the country should combine their efforts for waging an effective drive against y largely-unchecked menace of counterfeiting, copyrights violations and piracy.
Sindh Information Technology Minister Raza Haroon – chief guest of the inaugural session of IPR Conference 2011 – said that legislation and government actions cannot resolve the menace of IPR violations in the country alone, as it is more of a cultural issue rather than a legal or administrative. “We need to look at how easy and quick we adopt counterfeited and pirated products,” he said, adding that the government and parliament are there to implement and uphold the IPR in the country, but it is the people who should be fully-informed.
“There is a need to spread awareness in the society that the culture of copying products and innovations is not good and should be discouraged at all costs,” said Haroon. Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan – presiding over the IPR Conference inaugural session – said that IPR-related law enforcement mechanism in the country should be re-designed in order to effectively combat counterfeiting and piracy in the country.
Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) Pakistan Chairman Mir Shahjahan Khetran said that before April 2005, the management of intellectual property in the country was fragmented between three government ministries, which detracted much from the efficacy of the intellectual property system.
As a result, the intellectual property situation in Pakistan, according to the prevailing international perceptions, is constantly deteriorating, he said, adding that for correcting this undesirable situation, the government decided to establish an umbrella organisation for integrating, consolidating, and upgrading the intellectual property infrastructure in Pakistan.
Khetran said the establishment of IPO-Pakistan was also aimed at addressing the institutional shortcomings that were previously impeding efficient management of intellectual property in Pakistan. “The IPO is a new organisation and has major challenges ahead of it in terms of reforming and restructuring the existing intellectual property infrastructure; integration and upgrade of intellectual property management on competitive lines; improving service delivery in accordance with international practices; expanding public outreach for increasing awareness and sustaining the ongoing enforcement drive,” said the IPO chairman.
Russian Consul General in Karachi Andrey V Demidov said the due protection of IPR through enactment of laws, rules, and regulations has become all the more important in Russia in recent times. “Concrete steps were taken to combat the menace of trademark piracy, counterfeiting and other intellectual property infringements in Russia, as they had been inflicting huge financial losses to businesses based in the country,” he added.