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World business leaders today urged governments to allocate substantially greater attention and resources to combat the rapidly growing rate of piracy of intellectual property rights and production of counterfeit goods.

In a
statement issued by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), business also expressed
profound concern over recent Interpol reports that piracy and counterfeiting
are increasingly being used to fund organized crime and other international
criminal networks.

 

The
statement was issued in Marrakesh, Morocco, where more than 800 leaders of
government and business from 86 countries are gathered on the occasion of the
ICC’s 35th World Congress, taking place from 6 to 9 June.

 

The value
of counterfeited and pirated goods is estimated at over 500 billion euro
annually and is escalating rapidly, the statement said.

 

“Copyright,
trademark and design industries are particularly affected by IP theft, but
virtually no industry is untouched by this illegal activity. Food and
beverages, pharmaceuticals, electrical appliances, watches, cigarettes and
cosmetics are all popular targets of counterfeiters; and music, movies, video
games, software and other copyrighted digital content are also being
pirated”, the statement said.

 

To counter
this growing scourge, action needs to be taken in all countries and at all
levels of the supply chain through which illegitimate products are produced,
distributed and consumed, the ICC said.

 

The
three-page statement made specific recommendations including:

 

 

  • International
    implementation of current WIPO, WTO and other multilateral intellectual
    property rights agreements.
  • Strengthening
    and/or creation of national legal frameworks to ensure implementation and
    effective enforcement measures against copyright piracy and trademark
    counterfeiting.
  • Closer,
    more effective cooperation between business and government in formulating
    policies to upgrade enforcement measures.
  • More
    effective enforcement of existing laws.
  • Industry
    and government cooperation in conducting training and awareness-building
    programs for customs, police and judiciary officials.
  • Government
    and industry sponsored education campaigns and media coverage to help raise
    public awareness of the benefits of IP protection and the ill-effects of piracy
    and counterfeiting.
  • Improved
    data collection and sharing by government, industry and multilateral
    institutions.
  • Improved
    exchange between industry sectors, associations and governments of anti-piracy
    and anti-counterfeiting best practices.