KARACHI: The efforts of Directorate General of IPR Enforcement have led to increased investment in Pakistan and had a huge import on companies such as Samsung and OPPO enabling them to formulate their own business strategies and build manufacturing production facilities in Pakistan. This has not only helped grow our GDP but also generated apply employment across our community.

Directorate General of IPR Enforcement is the Anti-counterfeiting department of Pakistan Customs Service which combats the menace of import and export of counterfeits across the country’s borders.

Under SRO 768 (i)/2014 it helps develop and enforce all types of IPRs at import and export stage. It Promotes communication between right holders and the Directorate.

In light of said SRO, Director IPR Enforcement South Naima Batool, under the able guidance of its DG, fostered partnership/coordination in all IPR related matters with other IPR enforcement organizations nationally and internationally. From USPTO, FDA, Border customs, JETRO japan, TCL to all Trade missions, High Commissions, Embassies, Overseas Chamber of commerce, to FPCCI, all Chambers of commerce, Associations and business community in Pakistan. We had meetings, trainings, awareness Seminars, at every level and together spread awareness of the colossal loss caused by import of counterfeits.

It also, served as one of the main focal points for representatives of International Brands, multinational corporations, the private sector, legal fraternity and business community in general for coordinating in the combat of counterfeit goods trade, and the so called false allegation, that Pakistan encourages money laundering through import of counterfeits, and then this is used for terrorist outfits in their nefarious activities, was negated through our efforts.

In co-ordination with our stake holders, we developed guidelines and computer based IPR Risk Assessment and Targeting tools, and Compiled statistical data for IPR violations, Develop training programmes and Seminars for training of probationers, officers and staff with national and international assistance at local and foreign brands personally in entire region of South and via zoom throughout the country. These training enable Customs Officers posted at the ports and at the field Collectorate’s to quickly identify counterfeit goods and refer those cases to IPR for proper at adjudication and seizures /forfeitures as the case may be.

IPRE South made remarkable seizures and forfeitures under SRO 170(I)/2017, with the support of the clearance Collectorates; especially with regards to the Health Sector. As a result we received appreciation from all famous International Brands, of the likes of Unilever, GSK, Proctor &gamble, Toyota, Reckitt and Benkiser, Samsung, LG etc. The counterfeit gallery, followed by IPR section in the Custom Museum and the new addition of a walk in gallery at the  Directorate of IPRE South, is a proof of all it has accomplished in a very short time, and serves as a testament to the efforts of the officers posted in IPR and who have ensured that rights of intellectual property are protected.

In fact WTO members acknowledged improvement in IPR enforcement in their WTO report. This historic achievement was reported by WTO as well as private anti-counterfeiting agencies which flew to Pakistan to meet us and plan to work in collaboration with us. This indicated that they had also witnessed a marked decrease in import of counterfeits to Pakistan, which led several mobile companies, Samsung, Unilever and Reckitt & Benkiser, etc to open their manufacturing units in Pakistan. Thus promoting a soft image of Pakistan, Besides creating several hundred jobs. Our efforts also helped in increase of imports of genuine products, thereby ensuring that FBRs revenue targets were met. On the other hand, discouraging import of counterfeits led to growth of domestic Industry and made it easier to fulfil FATF conditions and enter preferential trade agreements.

IPRE South has made significant progress in terms of cases made during the last year. An increase of 33% was seen in the cases made in FY 20-21 compared to FY 19-20 as a result of focused efforts and coordination with right holders and the office of IPO, Pakistan. Information sharing and gathering along with greater emphasis on training of staff and officers resulted in the improved performance. Similarly, during the current FY the performance has witnessed an increase of 30% in cases formulated by the Directorate of IPRE South when the month-on-month performance is compared with the previous year July to February. We had the honour of being an IPR section in the Custom Kamil Museum.

The Directorate uses a multi-pronged approach to combat the import and export as well as general trade in counterfeits. This includes a dedicated strategy to identify and stop counterfeit goods at the country’s ports both for export and import cases. It also includes a dedicated and well-formed training program that has been formulated in coordination and cooperation with multilateral sector as well as the corporate sector.

These training enable Customs Officers posted at the ports and at the field Collectorate’s to quickly identify counterfeit goods and refer those cases to IPR for proper at adjudication and seizures /forfeitures as the case may be.  These trainings are also conducted for leadership positions such as executive officers who are leading the policy at the ports.  However, IPR role is not restricted to just trainings and making cases at the ports but also focused on dedicated awareness campaigns that are enabling the larger public, legal community as well as the business community to recognize the impact of the trade in counterfeit goods so that the community may also be vigilant against these illegal businesses and counterfeiters.