I would like to raise two questions before discussing the Intellectual Property (IP) Culture in Pakistan as 1) why industrial revolution started in UK whereas there were many other civilizations in the world at the time and 2) why USA left behind old civilizations, leapfrogged in S&T and led in technology fronts consistently for many decades.
There are many reasons and the readers have all the right to differ but my answer would be “It is Intellectual Property (IP)”.
IP Creation and Diffusion in the society ensures S&T led economic growth. Here are 10 areas of IP development.
1. Incentives system for scientists of universities and institutions
The absence of good incentives for IP creation discourages scientists to go for patents and adopt other models of career growth. The policy makers must devise lucrative incentives for IP creation.
2. IP awarding process to be efficient and proactive
The delays in IP awarding and patenting registration process demotivate people to file patents. The patents are awarded in averagely six years in Pakistan and 2-3 years in USA. Pakistani IPO office must bring this time to 02 years. Secondly, the bureaucratic process by IPO office is also source of discouragement and to be replaced with proactive, dynamic and efficient system.
3. IP commercialization and licensing
The scientists and institutions create IP (Patents) in the hope of commercialization and monetization. Otherwise there is no much use of spending on IP filing and maintaining. The government must spend resources and develop organizations to help in commercialization of IP.
4. Legal support for IP
IP filing and safeguarding claims is little technical, especially when entered into some disputes. There should be some legal support for early stage of IP filing and protecting. The individual scientists, small institutions and SMEs may not be able to pay hefty amounts of legal proceedings.
5. Awareness and training on IP
The awareness regarding patentability is very poor in Pakistan. The scientists are very much confused and little clear on how to produce IP from their research works. Similarly, lawyers and judges need to be trained on IP management and legal proceedings. The policy makers also need training to devise IP related responsive policies.
6. Industry capacity to buy and invest in IP
Currently Pakistan puts all burdens of IP on the scientists without understanding role of IP customer-the industry. The industry plays critical role in the process of IP making and commercialization. Industry needs to be educated, incentivized and involved in IP process through economic and industrial policy.
7. IP related law enforcement
The enforcement of IP law ensures rewards and monetization of IP. The easy culture of copy and zero protection of patent produce no economic value for investors, inventors and institutions. The copy culture kills the essence of IP in the society.
8. IP services and tools
IP related services providers are very few in Pakistan. The IP management business needs to be encouraged through tax credit. The foreign companies need to be encouraged to set up IP offices in Pakistan. IP related software applications and tools also need to be offered and subsidized in Pakistan.
9. Funding for IP related research and activities
There should be dedicated funding program to promote and support IP related research and other activities. The researchers with funded projects can better evaluate state of IP in Pakistan, its challenges and possible factors to promote IP culture. The institutions can apply for funding to arrange IP trainings and invite experts from abroad to share IP expertise.
10. IP related educational programs
Currently, there are no degree programs, courses and diplomas on IP management in Pakistan. This led to serious shortage of IP expertise and human resource in Pakistan. Therefore non-IP people are doing IP jobs. Pakistan must encourage institutions to offer education and training on IP management and create employment opportunities accordingly.
Rahmat Ullah, Chief Coordinator, IRP, Secretary-General, South Asia Triple Helix Association
Manager ORIC, UMT – email@example.com -0321-4917181