Trademark Law

Letters to the Editor: Karimullah Adeni
Published on: February 12, 2001 - DAWN, KARACHI

AA NEWS item in Dawn (Trade Marks Ordinance soon – February 1, 2001) quotes official sources as having said that the Commerce Ministry has dispatched the draft of Trade Marks Ordinance 2001 to the Law Division and this will be promulgated shortly.

This comes as a surprise to those who have an active interest in this piece of legislation. Trademark affect Pakistani as well as foreign businesses in Pakistan. These are considered prime intellectual property by every serious business concern that understands the value of its name and that of its products.

The ministry, typical of the approach it has shown, has gone ahead with finalization of the draft law without consulting the business community or the intellectual property law practitioners.

Recently, there were changes in some other intellectual property laws as well. There too, the ministry did not consider consulting the relevant quarters, with the result that the Copyright Law is now a laughing stock for every one who knows the basis of intellectual property business and how it is carried out.

There are some good examples in this regard. When the law on environmental protection was being implemented, the government circulated the draft to elicit public opinion. A more respect, and much more detailed, example is that of the local government law that was first circulated, then a thorough exercise was conducted through various seminars and public debate forums, and even now it has only gone to the provincial governments for proper legislation and implementation. One wonders who are the people handling legislation business at the commerce ministry.

It is still not very late. The Law Division, before it finalizes the draft trademark law, can still approach the concerned people, i.e. business representatives and the IP practitioners. Only when their views are incorporated in the draft legislation, the new law would have some merit. Otherwise, it would be a disaster for our business community.