There are a few important pieces of legislation pending enactment. One of these is a Bill on Geographical Indications and, once promulgated, we anticipate significant impact on GIs in Pakistan, as it would lay down proper criteria for its protection and enforcement. Pakistan currently does not protect GIs in a manner at par with international standards and, considering the potential of GI portfolios, Pakistan’s economy can substantially benefit from a proper administration of the same.
The second piece of legislation is the proposed amendments to the Patents Ordinance 2000, wherein substantial changes have been proposed, the most prominent of which is the elimination of third-party oppositions. However, IP practitioners have strong objected to this measure, as the majority of patents filed in Pakistan pertain to pharmaceutical, biological and nutritional products, and these amendments could have a serious, detrimental impact on generic pharmaceutical companies. However, the outcome of these proposals is still pending.
In addition to the above, amendments have also been proposed to the Trademark & Patent rules, whereby timelines, procedures and official costs may be amended.
Lastly, the Intellectual Property Organization has expressed its intention to accede to the Madrid Protocol and has suggested that measures to implement the said protocol are at play. However, when exactly this accession will take place is still unclear.