A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. (WIPO; World Intellectual Property Organization)
A global surge in patent related activity in recent years reflects its importance for commercialization of innovations derived through science and technology. Acquiring patent not only protects usage, disclosure and sharing rights of researchers, inventors, scientists, and the institutions of invention but also grants authorization to sell or license in agreed terms for monetary benefits. Overall profits are not limited to improvement of economy of the country of origin but mankind as whole if it is disclosed to the public domain after the monopoly time expires.
patent office Pakistan
Patent office in Pakistan was established in 1948 as an attached department of Ministry of Industries & Production under the provision of Section 55 of the Patents & Designs Act, 1911. Since 2005 patent office is a part of IPO Pakistan with vision to protect and promote IP rights indigenously and also keeping compliance as a responsible country to put Pakistan on World intellectual property map. IPO Pakistan has mission to upgrade and integrate IP infrastructure, dissemination of IP related education to make us IP based nation.
National Patent support programs
- A good initiative is the patent support program for Pakistani scientists and inventors from higher education commission of Pakistan. HEC encourages, free evaluation of research for patentability, and filing of local and foreign patents.
- PCSIR (Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) has objectives to grant free legal consultancy, patent search, full filing payment for 100 local and 5 foreign applications.
- PSF (Pakistan science Foundation) and PASTIC (Pakistan Scientific & Technological Information Center) facilitate inventions, innovations, services for patent search, filing of application and copying of patents.
- NUST (National University of Science and Technology) promotes research & development, guidelines on patent helpline, and technical advices on IP filing through CIE (Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship).
- IPO office its self provides guidelines through helplines especially exclusive support to women to leverage and link constituencies internally and externally.
- SMEDA (Small & Medium Enterprise Development Authority) also provides free helpline for patent support.
Patent related activities although cost money and time but the trend is surging globally. In United States, public entities, universities and business firms are attracted in frequent acquision, assertion, and enforcement of patents. It’s unfortunate that Pakistan is not in the competition of filing and acquiring patents to get intellectual property rights for commercialization of their own research.
Patent to publication ratio in Pakistan
PubMed search using the key word Pakistan resulted in a continuous increase in number of published articles in past 10 years and 15466 articles were published in year 2022. Similarly, patents published in 2022 were searched from IPO Pakistan and it was astonishing that majority of patent publications were foreign. It is worth noting that among the few patent publications, most were from academia indicating least interest of industrial sector in acquiring intellectual property rights in Pakistan.
Why Articles over Patents?
- Complex and long Process of Patenting: From research to drafting and filing, patents are complex than articles and patent related activities require funds, support and expert personnel like patent agents and attorneys.
- Sustainable industrial development: Effective and conservative utilization of resources ensure productivity which in turn facilitates supply circle and raw material extraction for industrial development. According to the World Bank report, the contribution of industrial sector in development of Pakistan is still awaited and usage of growing resources need to be considered for economic, social and environmental development. Poor support from industries, limit the research hence patents awarded in Pakistan.
- Loopholes in academic sector: Article publication is the basic requirement for the award of PhD Degree, and for appointments at different professional levels. Our scientific workforce disclose their inventions to meet the professional upgradation requirements. Increasing unemployment, unfilled public sector positions and job insecurities in private sector are key factors for discouragement of inventors towards patents which are complex to deal compared to article publications. Importantly, intellectual property is not taught as a major subject in our universities.
- Linkage Between Industry and Academia: In Pakistan, research and development is not based on the requests from industrial sector for improvement in commercialized products which results in the failure of focused academic innovations. We can improve complementary technological knowledge, pool skilled workers and avail patents through promotion of research culture in industries or their collaborations with academic sector.
Intellectual property rights are the future growth criteria of economic growth. Inventors, patent agents and attorneys should join their hands for promoting trend for acquiring patents for improvement in commercialization and economic stability. I conclude with the quote of Lori Greiner.
I always recommend, if you can, to patent or protect whatever your idea is. If you can’t, you have to make your best judgment. Sometimes people don’t get anywhere because they sit on something, so afraid to reveal it. And yet, in the reverse, sometimes if you expose something too widely, you can risk losing it.