Researchers, plant breeders urged to file patent for protection of IP rights

KARACHI:Speakers at a training workshop have urged the researchers, entrepreneurs and plant breeders to get their research work, products and bred varieties registered and patented to take benefit of Intellectual Property Rights framework of the country.

The one-day training workshop titled “Agricultural Technologies Protection using Intellectual Property Rights” was organized here on Wednesday by National Institute for Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology (NIGAB) of Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) Islamabad in collaboration with Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) Pakistan and South Zone Agricultural Research Centre (SARC) at University of Karachi.

Director General Department of Plant Protection Allah Ditta Abid, while addressing the opening session of the workshop, said that a number of scientists, inventors and researchers particularly in the field of agriculture do not get their research work, products and innovations registered for copyright or patent due to lack of awareness.

He said that the lengthy and cumbersome process of registration was another hindrance that discourage researchers from getting registration and reap the benefits of their hard work. The researchers and innovators work day and night to find out unexplored facet and features of their particular fields of studies and expertise but do not register and commercialize results of their hard work which allows others to take undue benefit of their work, he observed.

He maintained that the workshop would help the participants in understanding the registration process for patent and copyright and enable them of taking benefits of IPR regime of the country. The workshop that encompassed vast scope of IP Rights including patent, copyright, trade mark, geographical indication and plant breeders right would also benefit the farmers and public in large, he added.

Senior Patent Examiners of IPO Siama Kanwal and Shamsunissa Hashmi briefed the participants on definitions, importance, requirements, role and procedure of registration of Trade Mark, Copyright and Geographical Indications while Dr. Shaukat Ali of National Agricultural Research Council (NARC) shed light on implementation of Plant Breeders’ rights in variety protection.

Saima Kanwal informed that trade mark, copyright and patent are very important in the establishment of systems as they ensure protection of creator’s rights and considered essential for setting up and growth of a business.

She said that before 2005, patent, design, trade mark and copyright were fragmented among different ministries but after creation of Intellectual Property Organisation all of them were falling in ambit of IPO.

She said that the annual IP filing in Pakistan had registered a significant growth during previous five years following legislation and framing of rules in the regard but still there were challenges like lack of awareness, traditional mindset among academia, time consuming process and lack of technical capacity.

Patent rights are territorial and be first to file your patent to establish your right on it, she urged adding that disclose your invention or research for the greater benefit of public and state will protect your rights.

According to IPO Act patent infringement was a civil crime and IP tribunals and courts could be approached for legal remedy in the regard, she informed.

Speaking on geographical Indications, she informed that it was also called as poor men’s intellectual property which distinguished a product on the basis of origin, quality and geographical labeling. The GI system plays significant role in protection of local workforce by recognition of their IP right on a particular product, she added and said Pakistan has so far registered Basmati Rice, Hyderabad Bangles and Pink rock salt as GIs while 65 GIs from all the provinces and regions had been notified by federal government.

Dr. Shaukat Ali in his presentation on Plant Breeders Rights (PBR), informed that it was granted to breeder of a new variety which make he breeder as exclusive marketer of that specific variety.

The legislation framework in the regard was in place and applications were being received by federal ministry of Food Security and Research for the purpose, he said adding that any individual and organisation public or private may file for PBR that grants eventual royalty to the breeder.

Any company could not multiply the seed without consent of the breeder while the relevant law also determines distribution of ratio of royalty between the breeder and institute at 60:40, he said.