In an unprecedented move, Pakistani creative agency, Giraffe, sent out an official notice against British American Tobacco (BAT) for violating intellectual property rights. According to Giraffe, BAT has launched it’s very own Velo Sound Station similar to Nescafe Basement and Coke Studio in the hope of advertising Velo, a nicotine pouch product.
To many people this was an eye-opener in the advertisement industry; how could an insignificant creative agency have the guts to not just accuse an MNC in private but drag them to court? According to Muhammad Ibrahim, CEO of Giraffe, ” Agencies don’t pursue the legal route because they fear the wrath of the person they go against in terms of losing business.” The launching of a music platform enabling BAT to advertise their own product, Velo, is definitely a copyright violation and an infringement on the intellectual property law of Pakistan.
According to officials and public domain court documents with the Intellectual Property Rights Tribunal Lahore made available to Profit, BAT, PTC, along with BAT head of marketing Ali Khan and BAT director of marketing Ali Akbar are seemingly on the losing side of allegations pertaining to violating intellectual property rights. If BAT were to lose, it would send tremors in the Pakistan advertising agency, which has a history of usually disregarding intellectual property rights.