Geographical Indications in Pakistan: The Need for Legal and Institutional Reforms and Economic Development.
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Geographical indications assumed prominence in terms of juridical development and economic importance with their inclusion in the TRIPS Agreement. Due to their nexus with place of origin, the importance of agricultural GIs has increased manifold. Pakistan has a strong agriculture-based economy. It has many valuable GIs, like Basmati rice, with significant trade worth billions of dollars. Nevertheless, not a single GI has been registered in Pakistan due to factors such as the inadequacies in the present system of protection of GIs in Pakistan, institutional weaknesses and the absence of an active role of the state. This thesis argues that a sui generis law for the regulation of agricultural GIs will facilitate better protection of GIs and economic development in Pakistan provided that it is also accompanied by the necessary institutional reforms. Pakistan is making efforts to enact a separate GI law for better protection of its GIs. However, there are administrative hurdles and institutional incapacities in Pakistan which need to be reformed. Examples have been taken from the sui generis laws of the EU and India in the discussions on legislative and institutional reforms in Pakistan. The EU and Indian sui generis laws have shown better protection of their GIs resulting in the registration of hundreds of their GIs and economic development. The situation in neighbouring India was the same as is currently found in Pakistan until 2003 when it introduced its sui generis law; it has now registered hundreds of GIs. Besides literature reviews, interviews have been conducted with public and private sector stakeholders to gain an insight into the weaknesses and strengths of the system of protection of GIs in Pakistan, as well as potential reforms. Based on the findings, a sui generis law and institutional reforms for better protection of agricultural GIs and economic development in Pakistan are proposed.
AuthorsAli, Muhammad Hamid
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