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The year 2021 began with a hugely positive development for Pakistan’s IP community when the country finally notified its GI Rules in January, paving the way for the creation of a GI Registry.

 

This came 10 months after the enactment of the Geographical Indications (GI) Act, 2020 in March 2020 and after the European Commission published India’s application for a GI right over basmati rice in the European Union on September 11, 2020. Pakistan’s basmati rice was finally registered on January 21, 2021. More locally-made and grown products are in line for GI registration following cabinet’s approval for these to seek GI labeling on local soil.

 

This development was followed by another good news on February 24 when Pakistan acceded to the Madrid Protocol, becoming its 108th member. The Madrid Protocol entered into force for Pakistan on May 24, 2021.

 

According to some lawyers, Pakistan’s IP environment overall is improving with government working to align the local IP with international protocols. Moreover, mechanisms for implementing IP laws and curbing the sale of counterfeit goods are also improving.

 

More recently, in August, the Pakistan Ministry of Information Technology approved a new cybersecurity policy for the country which ranks 79th in the ITU’s Global Cyber Security Index. At the core of this policy is a strong framework to realize a ‘secure cyber ecosystem’ existing in Pakistan, involving computer emergency response teams and security operations centers at all levels. On top of these, the policy targets specific initiatives to help build a ‘secure cyber ecosystem.’ These include skills development programs, public awareness campaigns and information-sharing capabilities.

 

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Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property’s Pakistan office in Karachi boasts an IP practice covering trademark, patent, copyright, design and domain names. With head offices in Jordan, the firmhas been instrumental in the improvement of IP ecosystems in Arab countries, working closely with their governments and multilateral organizations. The firm’s headquarters are in Amman, Jordan. Founded in 1972, Ali & Associates is an internationally-recognized law firm specializing in IP, media and IT. The firm was named the 2020 Asia IP patent firm of the year for Pakistan. The firm is led by senior partner Syed Auqil Ali Shah and managing partner Karimullah Adeni. The team is well-known for enforcement and litigation work, and has represented domestic and foreign clients in the cosmetic, chemical, textile, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, machinery, electronic, automobile and agriculture sectors. The firm has domestic offices in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore, and foreign offices in Kabul and the Washington area.

 

One of the fastest growing law firms in the region, Lahore-based ALIPA (Abeed Legal & IP Attorneys) provides IP services covering trademarks, designs, copyrights, patents, and domain names. These include filing, registration, renewal, opposition, licensing, assignments, post registration procedures, opinions and counseling, prosecution, due diligence and litigation. The firm, which has several regional offices, delivers these solutions to startups and Fortune 500 companies alike, fueled by its lawyers’ outstanding technical and litigation expertise. This team of legal professionals is led by founder and managing partner Muhammad Abeed Atif who specializes in corporate matters, IP laws and technology laws. Partner Khadija Ijaz is the latest addition to the group.

 

 

Founded by Abdur Bharucha in 1948, Bharucha & Co is one of the oldest firms for patent and trademark prosecution work in Karachi. The firm collaborates with an IP-focused investigation agency, so time-restricted projects can be handled swiftly. The law firm filed an opposition against the application for registration of a local company’s trademark on behalf of a foreign company the real proprietor of the trademark – whose marks are already in use in many countries. The opposition was allowed and the local company’s application was refused for registration. Farzana Rustom, Qamar Uddin, Hameeda Asif, Saira Bhatty are key practitioners in the firm.

 

Daudpota International is a frontrunner in the legal services industry in South Asia and the Middle East with offices in the UAE, Sri Lanka and in Karachi. Managing partner Junaid Daudpota, who specializes in competition law, IP, commercial and financial law, is a key practitioner in the firm’s UAE and Pakistan offices. The firm is led by senior partner Faisal Daudpota who worked on IP projects for the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development and co-authored the digital signatures law and IP laws for the Dubai International Financial Center.

 

Since 2002, Hamayuns has been a specialty firm for IP matters on trademarks, patents, copyright and design. Partners Saad Nusrullah and Mohsin Nusrullah lead the firm in a wide range of services including registration, opposition, assignment, franchising and litigation. The firm has launched a practice to provide IP services elsewhere in the region, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India.

 

Intellectual property and information technology is one of the specialty areas of Irfan & Irfan in Lahore. Partner Hasan Irfan Khan, a leader in the area of IT law in Pakistan, is a main contact. He was co-author of Pakistan’s country profile in Trademark Anticounterfiting in Asia and the Pacific Rim, a publication by the International Trademark Association. The firm’s IP practice covers patents, copyright and trademarks.

 

Led by managing director Mian Muhibullah Kakakhel, Kakakhel Law Associates comprises seven partners, three associates and two support members based in Peshawar. Advocate at the Supreme Court of Pakistan Tehmina Ambreen and advocate at the Peshawar High Court Saifullah Muhib are top practitioners who have handled hundreds of infringement cases. They defended local publishers in a piracy lawsuit against Oxford University Press, Pakistan.

 

Khursheed Khan & Associates is a national law firm established by Zulfiqar Khan, who is now a judge on the High Court of Sindh. Its lawyers have contributed to national IP laws and rules including the Trade Marks Ordinance 2000, the Patent Ordinance 2000, the Patent Rules, the Design Rules and the Integrated Circuit Rules. Julie Ismail is a contact at the firm.

 

Meer & Hasan, led by senior partners Farooq Amjad Meer and Salim Hasan and partner Zeeshan Ashraf Meer. Besides filing hundreds of patent and design applications for foreign clients such as World Wrestling Entertainment, H&M, BBC and Hugo Boss, the firm has handled trademark infringement cases for Nokia and Domino’s Pizza, receiving favourable decisions for both clients.

 

Based in Lahore, Rana Ijaz & Partners comprises three lawyers. Managing partner Rana Ijaz Ahmed Khan and partners Rana Muhammad Ahmad and Rana Sajjad Ahmad provide assistance on a variety of matters, including technology transfer, licensing, remittance, accounting of damages for infringement, verification of royalty and license fee, product packaging, trade secrets and anti-piracy. They also work with international associates to obtain corresponding protection in countries outside Pakistan, as well as to represent clients in litigation and alternative-dispute resolution.

 

Founded in 1827 by Henry Remfry, Remfry & Son, located in Karachi, is a venerable law firm providing IP services in the fields of trademarks, domain names, patents, designs and copyright. Muhammad Ayub has left the firm. London-based commercial firm RIAA Barker Gillette has 10 partners and 13 associates in its Karachi headquarters with domestic branch offices in Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and Peshawar; it is part of a global network which has offices in Dubai, Kabul, London, New York, Washington and Beijing. Managing partner Ahsan Zahir Rizvi has drafted regulatory frameworks for the fields of IP, telecommunications and oil and gas.

 

Founded in February 1948 in Karachi by the late Sheikh Fazal Ellahi, Sheikh Brothers is an IP boutique providing services covering all aspects of IP including patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyright, unfair competition, licensing, franchising, technology transfer, litigation and enforcement. Amongst two partners, four associates and 10 other staff members, Salman Ahmed Sheikh stands out of the crowd and represents well with clients at all forums including the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The firm bagged the Asia IP Pakistan copyright firm of the year award in 2020.

 

Surridge & Beecheno was founded in 1948 by two British barristers, Charles Surridge and Peter Beecheno. The firm has expanded with branch offices in Lahore and Dubai. The firm has a department specializing in trademarks and patents but also advises on copyright and other IP matters. The firm represents the Trademark Owners Association and Wal-Mart, and is the honourary legal advisor to the British High Commission and the Swiss Embassy in Pakistan.

 

Based in Lahore, United Trademark & Patent Services offers services including anti-counterfeiting, administrative actions, and raids and seizures; arbitration and dispute resolution; acquisition and divestiture of trademarks; as well as enforcement, due diligence, investigation, inspection, litigation and portfolio management. Yawar Irfan Khan and Hasan Irfan Khan are top practitioners at the firm.

 

Vellani & Vellani was established in 1937 and is located in Karachi. Partners Badaruddin Vellani and Ameen Vellani have extensive corporate law practice in most prosecution work and, together, they lead a team which advises on matters related to trademarks, patents, copyright, domain names and anti-counterfeiting to both domestic and MNC clients as well as government agencies in fields such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, vehicles and computer software. Erum Rasheed, who filed 20% of the total applications filed in Pakistan, and Anwer Ghani are key patent practitioners, Khushnum Muncherji is a key contact for copyright work and Seema Mansoor is a good contact for trademark matters. Other key contacts include Sana Shaikh and Dilshad Bharucha. The firm was named the 2020 Asia IP Pakistan trademarks firm of the year.

 

Zain Sheikh is senior counsel at Zain Sheikh & Associates and a senior professor at the Sindh Muslim Government Law College in Karachi. Sheikh is highly recommended for IP litigation work. Clients say he has tremendous understanding of the law. The firm also advises on banking and finance, corporate law, M&A, aviation law and corporate taxation.

 

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