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Business leaders from Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), an initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), today welcomed news that the European Council has established a European Observatory on Counterfeiting.

The Council resolution establishing the observatory was initially put forward by the French EU Presidency. The new observatory will bring together for the first time European government and private sector stakeholders to measure and analyze the counterfeiting and piracy problem impacting Europe, and develop solutions to the growing problem.

“The observatory provides a unique and much-needed forum for gathering the expertise of European public and private sector leaders to share intelligence and strategies for fighting the growing problem of counterfeiting and piracy in the region,” said ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban. “Experience has shown that while the problem is global, responses are most effective when they are tailored to the stakeholders, consumers and infrastructures of a particular region.  ICC/BASCAP stands ready to support the observatory in its important work.”

Drawing on Member-State and private-sector input, the observatory will develop an annual report identifying places in Europe where counterfeiting and piracy is rife, source and transit countries for fake goods reaching Europe, and Internet sites selling fake products into Europe. It will also study the effectiveness of the legal framework in enforcing intellectual property rights, country by country.

In addition to the analytical reports, the observatory is expected to compile practical tools to aid cooperation between customs officials and brand owners, including a directory of contacts for European government and private-sector actors involved in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, and a compendium of best practices.

The observatory also will develop communications materials to educate consumers on the issue, and will work with relevant actors – such as travel agents – to develop a campaign to sensitize consumers in Europe of the dangers associated with buying fake goods, building upon the various public awareness campaigns already underway in European anti-counterfeiting associations.

“The observatory has enormous potential,” said Jeffrey Hardy, BASCAP Coordinator. “To the extent the observatory can create a Europe-wide concentration on the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, it represents a very important step forward.”

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