IPO Pakistan at a Glance

Brief History of IPO-Pakistan

Intellectual property rights are intellectual creations. These are intangible goods that hold value i.e. computer programmes, music, films, novels, recipes, and trade secrets etc. Intellectual property protection should be given the same treatment and respect as we treat personal or real property. The creators of intellectual property may grant the exclusive rights to buy, sell, license, and transfer intellectual property.

Mainstreaming Intellectual Property (IP)

The Government of Pakistan believes that Intellectual Property (IP) is critical for competitive economy especially in the back drop of ongoing globalization. The Government also believes that sustainable economic growth depends largely on Hi-tech Research & Development base of the country and efficient knowledge input in the economy for innovation and creativity. The realization that IP is a powerful driver of innovation and creativity for wealth creation is immensely growing in Pakistan. The new concept of IP based nation is gaining ground because intellectual property management is a significant enabler of technology creation, technology transfer and creativity. Based on these considerations the intellectual property management has been mainstreamed in Pakistan by revamping the age-old fragmented mode of IP management; and establishing a new organization, IPO-Pakistan for integrated management of intellectual property. The Government’s decision to establish a focal IP Organization is particularly aimed at effectively addressing the institutional shortcomings that were previously impeding the efficient management of intellectual property in the country.

IP Situation before 2005

IPO-Pakistan inherited three IP Registries which were previously being managed by three different Ministries as follows:-

             Fragmented Mode of IP Management before 2005



Date  of Establishment

Supervising Ministry


The Patents and Designs Office, Karachi


Ministry of Industries (Islamabad)


Trade Marks Registry, Karachi


Ministry of Commerce (Islamabad)


The Copyright Office, Karachi


Ministry of Education (Islamabad)


Governance Structure of IPO-Pakistan

A high profile Policy Board was constituted for effective supervision of IPO-Pakistan. The composition of IPO Policy Board symbolizes the spirit of Public-Private Partnership which is the new paradigm of participative governance in Pakistan. It also combines the finest expertise of public administration on the government side and the corporate management on the corporate side to best serve the national interest of the country. The Director General IPO-Pakistan is the Ex-Officio Secretary to the Policy Board. It will thus be observed that the Government has invested its finest human capital in the governance structure of IPO-Pakistan.

Core Functions 

IPO-Pakistan has been assigned the following core functions namely:

 - Integrating IP management;    

 - Improving service delivery;  

 - Increasing public awareness; and  

 - Enhancing enforcement coordination

Initial Priorities

 Being a new organization, the initial priorities of IPO-Pakistan were set-up as follows:-

 - Consolidation of inheritance from the past;    

 - Putting in core capacities in the new organization;    

 - Achieving higher order professionalization; and  

 - Operating the Organization on modern and competitive lines.


After its inception in April, 2005, IPO-Pakistan launched a number of organizational, administrative and functional initiatives to upgrade the institutional infrastructure; design a flat and lean service structure; provide attractive salary package and afford necessary capacity building opportunities to reform, restructure and reorganize intellectual property management in Pakistan. Its mentionable achievements are as follows;

1- Integrated IP Management

IPO-Pakistan has fast developed into a lead model of integrated IP management of all forms of IP including Patents, Industrial Designs, Trade Marks, Service Marks, Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits (topographies), Geographical Indications and Copyrights. Pakistan is also one of the 14 countries of the world which have a regular Copyright Registry. Besides, the functions of IP management and IPR enforcement have been effectively integrated under IPO-Pakistan. The Government has also decided to integrate management of Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBRs) under the new organization. IPO-Pakistan is now being increasingly recognized and appreciated at the national and international levels for being a lead model of integrated IP management for developing countries. Expert Committee of IP Offices of the OIC member countries which met in Casablanca in July, 2007, recommended adoption of the integrated IP management model of Pakistan.

2- Automation & Computerization of Business Processes

Automation is the key to transformation of IP Registries into an improved service delivery mode. Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), formulation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), automation and capacity building of the core staff constitute the fundamentals of Pakistan’s IP strategy to improve service delivery. Accordingly automation of data base of Trade Marks Registry has been completed. Patent Registry has also completed automation of most Patent databases with the help of Electronic Government Directorate (EGD) of Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Technology and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Copyright Automation Software (CAS) has been developed to automate Copyright Registry and most of the databases have been digitized. The ultimate objective is to bring IP management online in Pakistan in the shortest possible time. For this purpose EGD is preparing an overall automation plan. This will involve an additional outlay of Rs. 50 Million over and above the normal expenditure budget of IPO-Pakistan.

Salients of Automation

Improved service delivery by:

    - Computerisation

      Industrial Property Automation System (IPAS)

      –       Patent

      –       Trade Mark Registry (TMR)

      –       Copyright

    - Overall Automation

      –      Virtual Private Network (VPN)

      –       Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

    - New Webportal (www.ipo.gov.pk)                  

      –     Information Sharing With Stakeholders

Improved Service Delivery by IPO Website Features

 IPO Website (www.ipo.gov.pk) has the following main features, namely:- 

 - Dynamics & Informative;    

 - Online Services i.e application filing, searches etc.;  

 - Availability of Forms etc.;    

 - Publishing IP Journal/ Gazette; and    

 - Hosting latest IP Data and information.

3- Public Awareness about IPRs

In order to improve public awareness, IPO-Pakistan has launched its Public Outreach Program for linkage and leveraging its internal and external constituencies i.e. Chambers of Commerce and Industry, business enterprises, R&D institutions, universities, academia and general public. ‘World Trade Review’, a fortnightly newspaper focused on WTO news is also regularly publishing IP news. ‘Pledge’ a periodical against counterfeiting and piracy is being regularly published by a private sector Anti-Counterfeiting and Infringement Forum (ACIF), Karachi. ‘IP News’ is yet another periodical which is effectively serving the cause of IP in Pakistan. The WTO Cell of the Government of the Punjab is also publishing a monthly Newsletter on WTO and IP matters. TV channels are occasionally telecasting programs on WTO and IP. It will thus be observed that both electronic and print media are being used for enhancing public awareness in IP. Pakistan’s National Commission for UNESCO and UNDP have provided some financial support in organizing IP awareness seminars in the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and District Bar Associations of lawyers in collaboration with IPO Pakistan and the International Islamic University, Islamabad. IPO-Pakistan has been able to establish effective linkages with the following institutions and organizations;

4- Restructuring of IP Registries

The existing organizational and administrative set-up of IP Registries requires extensive reform and restructuring. IPO Head Office in Islamabad has been organized on modern lines. The IP Registries and their Regional Offices are also being reformed and restructured in keeping with the emerging global trends. Efforts are now underway to achieve higher order professionalization by creating a critical mass of human capital through massive capacity building programs to operate the new organization on sophisticated and competitive lines.

It needs a lot of capacity building, vision, foresight and patience. There is no dearth of political will, administrative firmness and financial commitment on the part of Government of Pakistan to achieve the objectives. However lack of expertise and capacity problems constitute the most serious challenges for IPO-Pakistan. Some of the IP friendly countries and organizations are helping IPO-Pakistan to upgrade management skills, improve professional expertise, to reform its institutional infrastructure and restructure its administrative set-up. 

5- Offices of IPO-Pakistan

IPO-Pakistan presently comprises of the following offices namely:   - IPO Head Office, Islamabad;  - Trade Marks Registry, Karachi;   - (Including Service Marks and Geographical Indications (GI))  - The Patents and Designs Office, Karachi;  - Copyright Office, Karachi;  IPO Regional Office, Lahore and IPO Regional Office, Peshawar.      

Short term future plan is also in hand to establish integrated regional office in the provincial capitals of Quetta.

6- Revamping IP Legislation

Pakistan has put in place a complete set of Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) compliant IP legislation as follows;

TRIPS Compliant IP Legislation


The Patents Ordinance, 2000;


The Registered Designs Ordinance, 2000;


The Registered Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Ordinance, 2000;


The Copyright Ordinance, 1962 (as amended in 2000);


The Trade Marks Ordinance, 2001;


A sui generis Geographical Indications (GI) Law has been drafted. It is undergoing necessary scrutiny and cross-checks required before its presentation to the Federal Cabinet for approval and submission to the Parliament; and


Way Forward

IP management has been mainstreamed in Pakistan. The institutional shortcomings which were previously impeding efficient and effective management are being addressed by the government. Operations of IP Registries are being computerized on fast track basis. Pendancies are being eliminated on priority. Pakistan is well on its way to achieve its IP objectives. But IP is not an end in itself. It is a means towards an end. The end is sustaining and strengthening the ongoing high growth mode of the national economy and to ultimately achieve the goal of being an IP efficient society and an IP based nation. IP is in fact the art and science of brain and business knowledge management. IP is a powerful driver of economic growth and wealth creation. IP is both the cause and effect of economic strength of a country. Its intelligent use can bring about exponential acceleration in economic growth. A strong and well managed IP regime is therefore a paramount national imperative for achieving the objective of competitive economy based on:-

-        Technology Creation;

-        Technology Transfer; and

-        Creativity Promotion.

Bottom Line 

In the backdrop of ongoing globalization of economies in the 21st century, only those countries will be winners who efficiently and effectively address their IP problems with special reference to the following:-

 National IP assets management;


IPRs Enforcement