In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan has been under a nationwide lockdown since 23 March 2020. As such, the Competition Commission recently launched an online M&A application filing system to facilitate local and foreign stakeholders with mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Further, in order to continue its regular functions amid the pandemic, the Competition Commission has resumed hearings by allowing parties to participate through videoconferencing.
Pursuant to a complaint by Nestlé Pakistan Limited, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) initiated an inquiry into Engro Foods Limited for misleading consumers and engaging in deceptive marketing practices under the Competition Act 2010. The CCP concluded that Engro Foods had been involved in deceptive marketing practices and, in the interest of the general public and other market players, recommended that proceedings be initiated against it.
The Competition Commission recently decided on a joint pre-merger application by Uber Technologies, Inc and Careem Inc and concluded that – based on its assessment of the relevant market – the proposed merger was likely to substantially weaken competition through the creation or strengthening of a dominant position in the relevant market. Thus, the commission initiated a Phase II review.
The Competition Commission recently initiated proceedings against 18 electric cable manufacturers which had engaged in deceptive marketing practices under the Competition Act by failing to disclose to consumers that there were cash/cash coupons in the packaging of electric wire cable bundles. The commission's enquiry concluded that on account of this omission, purchasers of the product had been unaware of the coupons and this benefit had instead transferred to various electricians.
The Competition Commission recently examined whether Wateen Telecom Limited had resorted to a tie-in arrangement for analogue TV services provided to a housing scheme in Lahore, restricting consumer choice and abusing its dominant position in violation of the Competition Act. The commission found that the original enquiry report had erroneously defined the relevant market. Due to a lack of sufficient data and evidence, the show cause notice issued to Wateen was set aside.
The Patents Ordinance 2000 is a consolidated amended law relating to the protection of inventions and patents in Pakistan. As a registered patent owner, a patentee can authorise or prevent third parties from using its patent or manufacturing a product or offering to sell a product or service that uses its patented invention, subject to certain limitations.
The Lahore High Court recently heard an appeal of the registrar of trademarks' decision to delete a mark on the grounds of non-use. The appellant had failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove its mark, whereas the respondent had filed extensive documentary evidence to show that it was a bona fide manufacturer and user of the relevant trademark.
The Intellectual Property Tribunal recently vacated an interim injunction granted in a case brought by Brands for Less LLC against another retailer concerning its use of the BRANDS 4 LESS mark. The tribunal found that Brands for Less had failed to make an adequate case for granting an interim injunction and stated that a well-known mark may be a good ground for registering IP rights in another territory, but not for injunctive relief, unless a balance of convenience can be established.
In order to integrate and upgrade Pakistan's IP infrastructure and improve its services, public awareness and IP enforcement, the Intellectual Property Office recently proposed draft amendments to the Patents Ordinance. The proposed amendments, which aim to align the ordinance with the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan Act, standardise office practices and streamline procedures, have been published on the office's website for public comment but have yet to be finalised.
The Sindh High Court recently overturned a registrar of trademarks' decision following an appeal by Moonlite Trading and rejected MF Enterprises' application to register its infringing FASTER BLACK COBRA mark. The decision applied the concept of totality of impression and the average consumer test to ascertain whether the registration of the FASTER BLACK COBRA mark would infringe Moonlite Trading's COBRA mark.