Pakistan has been flagged by international organisations as one of the major violators of the IPR. We were approached by the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industries (OICCI): to impress on the government to set up the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) as soon as possible. The OICCI wanted to be consulted in the formation of this organisation and in pushing stringent laws for the violation of IPR. It also wanted to create awareness through media among the people about the disadvantages of IPR violation.
We lobbied with the government ministers to get OICCI in the consultative committee for setting up IPO. We simultaneously approached leading writers and artists who attract more sympathy to talk to the media about the loss they incur because of copyright violations. We asked Pharmaceutical companies to speak up on the issues of counterfeit medicines as it was alarming for the public that such practice is rampant. The theme used was that “you are being cheated” if you buy counterfeit products, the industry is losing business, the government is losing revenue and creativity is suffering.
To reach the stakeholders and to push the government we organised a number of seminars, placed articles and inspired talk shows on TV on the issue of IPR violations. The most difficult part was to organise a seminar for the senior high court and session court judges to sensitise them about the seriousness of the issue as most violators of IPR are let off with mild sentences. We worked with a lawyers’ organisation to arrange this seminar.
At present we are running an awareness campaign in schools and parents against counterfeiting of Oxford University Press school books.
The OICCI was invited to be a part of the committee by the government. The media and judiciary became more sensitized on the IPR issues.
But at present IPO is an inactive organisation as the pressure which was created by the campaign was taken off. Such campaigns need to be sustained over a long period in developing countries.