Intellectual Property
 Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the intellect for which an exclusive right is assigned     to designated owners by law. 

Categories of Intellectual Property

There are two categories of Intellectual Property:
Industrial Property (Include patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications) 
Copyrights (covers literary works, films, music, artistic works and architectural design.) 

Intellectual Property Rights 

Intellectual property rights (IPRs) are the protections granted to the creators of IP, and include trademarks, copyright, patents, industrial design rights, Layout designs of integrated circuits, Geographical Indications and Plant Breeder’s Rights. 

The registration of IPRs are territorial and must be filed in each country where protection is sought. A patent or trademark in one country does not afford protection in another country. The following types of intellectual property rights protection are being offered / in-process in Pakistan: 


A patent is grant of exclusive rights for an invention to make, use and sell the invention for a limited period of 20 years. The patent grant excludes others from making, using, or selling the invention. Patent protection does not start until the actual grant of a patent. 
A patent owner has the right to decide who may or may not use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected. The patent owner may give permission, or license, to other parties to use the invention on mutually agreed terms. The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else, who will then become the new owner of the patent. Once a patent expires, the protection ends and invention enters the public domain, that is, the owner no longer holds exclusive right to the invention which becomes available to commercial exploitation by others.  

Patentable Inventions in Pakistan 

In order to be patentable an invention should have the following characteristics: 
  • The invention should be process or product 
  • The invention should be novel or new 
  • It involves an inventive step 
  • It is capable of industrial application 

Patent applications are examined under the Patents Ordinance, 2000 and Rules there under for both technical and legal merits. These characteristics are briefly explained below: 

Exceptions & Non-Patentable Inventions in Pakistan 

The following shall not be regarded as invention within the meaning of the Patent ordinance, 

  • A discovery, scientific theory, law of nature or mathematical method 
  • A literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or any other creation of purely aesthetic character whatsoever
  • A scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business 
  • The presentation of information, computer software 
  • That exist in nature or if isolated there from. 


A Trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and / or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods.
Trade Marks Registry (TMR) is premier body of Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan) working for the registration of trade and services marks under the Trademarks Ordinance, 2001. It is a federal government body and its jurisdiction for trade and services marks lies within the geographical boundary of Pakistan. It works as a civil court and its decisions are appealable at the provincial high courts. The Trademarks Registry is headed by a Registrar and its office is located in Karachi and also Regional Office situated in Lahore. 

Industrial Designs 

An industrial design is the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. The design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of two dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color.

Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of products of industry and handicraft: from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewelry and other luxury items; from house wares and electrical appliances to vehicles and architectural structures; from textile designs to leisure goods. 
An industrial design is primarily of an aesthetic or visual nature, and does not relate to the technical features of an article. 

Advantages of Registered Designs 

The owner is able to prevent unauthorized copying or imitation of his or her design by third parties. In addition, as industrial designs add to the commercial value of a product & facilitate its marketing & commercialization, their protection helps ensure that a fair return on investment is obtained. 
Protection of industrial designs encourages fair competition & honest trade practices. It leads to the production of more aesthetically attractive & diversified products, thereby broadening consumer choice. 

Disadvantages of Unregistered Designs 

The owner is unable to prevent unauthorized copying or limitation of his or her design by third parties. 
Unprotected of industrial designs discourages unfair competition & dishonest trade practices. 

Geographical Indication 

A Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign used in relation to products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or reputation essentially due to natural and human factors of place of origin e-g Basmati Rice, Sport goods of Sailkot, Sargodha Kinnow, Multan Mango. 

Topographies of Integrated Circuits 

Integrated Circuit means a product, in its final form or an intermediate form, in which the elements, at least one of which is an active element, and some or all of the interconnections are integrally formed in and/or on a piece of material and which is intended to perform an electronic function. 
"Layout-design (topography)" means the three-dimensional disposition, however expressed, of the elements, at least one of which is an active element, and of some or all of the interconnections of an integrated circuit, or such a three-dimensional disposition prepared for an integrated circuit intended for manufacture 


Copyright is a legal instrument that provides the creator of a work of art or literature, or a work that conveys information or ideas, the right to control how the work is used. The intent of copyright is to advance the progress of knowledge by giving an author of a work an economic incentive to create new works. 

Copyright includes the following creative works: 

  • Literary works which includes Books, Magazines, Journals, Lectures, Dramas, Novels, Computer programs /Software and compilation of data etc. 
  • Artistic works like paintings, Maps, photographs, drawings, Charts, Calligraphists, Sculptures, Architectural Works, Label Designs, Logos, Monograms and other works alike. 
  • Cinematographic works which includes movies, audio-visual works, documentaries etc. 
  • Record works which include sound recordings, musical works etc. 

Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan) 

Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan) was established as an autonomous body on April 8, 2005 under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division for integrated and efficient intellectual property management in the country. The Trade Marks Registry, Copyright Office and Patent Design Office became part of the new Organization under a unified and integrated management system. On July 25, 2016, the administrative control of IPO-Pakistan was transferred from Cabinet Division to Commerce Division. 

The major functions of the Organization, inter alias, include administer and coordinate all Government systems for protection and strengthening of Intellectual Property (IP); Manage all IP offices in the country; Create awareness about IP Rights; Advise Federal Government on IP Policy; Ensure effective enforcement of IP rights through designated IPR Enforcement Agencies (Police, FIA, and Pakistan Customs) 

World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO) 

WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation. We are a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 191 member states.

Our mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all. Our mandate, governing bodies and procedures are set out in the WIPO Convention, which established WIPO in 1967. 

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