The strengthening of the institutional aspects of the national IP system, specifically of IPO-Pakistan, remains a key challenge in ensuring that IP contributes meaningfully to the developmental goals of the country.
The establishment of IPO-Pakistan in 2005, as an autonomous organization reporting to the Cabinet Division instead of multiple Ministries, was an important development, as it enabled a more coherent and integrated response to IP issues. The TRTA-I Program had played a significant role in facilitating the establishment and initial functioning of IPO-Pakistan. However, IPO-Pakistan’s ability to fully exercise its key role in leveraging the IP system for economic development is constrained by a number of factors, most notably, its human resources and the paper-based nature of its work methods and procedures.
Development of IPO-Pakistan’s human resources would be sought through actions in three areas. Firstly, some of the officials dealing with policy related matters would be given a deeper understanding of IP laws, including through exposure to formal IP law courses. Secondly, officials responsible for administrative matters, including financial and human resources management, would be equipped with modern management tools and practices. Thirdly, the technical skills of the examiners at the IP registries would be upgraded, since a properly trained examination staff is the bedrock on which an IP system is built.
Institutional strengthening shall also be aimed at through the modernization of IP business and administration processes of IPO Pakistan. This would reduce the time and cost of granting IP rights and improve the quality of search and examination of patents, industrial designs and trademarks.
Beneficiaries of automation would include Pakistan IPO as well as the IP stakeholders who receive services from it, and who will have online access to its IP databases (e.g. IP attorneys, research and development institutions, and businesses.)
The TRTA-I Program had contributed to the establishment of the initial elements of automation at the Trade Marks Registry (TMR), including the data capture of paper trademark records, IT equipment and training. This effort was subsequently built on and complemented by WIPO to extend automation to other IPO Registries with the deployment of the Industrial Property Automation System (IPAS) customized to the specific legislative requirements of the TMR and the Patent Office. However, modernization is an ongoing process and the transition from a manual paper-based environment to an advanced paperless automated environment is complex, challenging, takes time, and goes through critical milestones.
IPO Pakistan shall be provided with further technical advice and assistance to advance to the next important automation milestone, that may be termed as the “customer oriented services” stage, in order to be at a level comparable with other modern IP offices that are similar in size and profile.