Global CEOs form coalition to fight counterfeiting and piracy, warn on threat to jobs, investment and consumer safety
London meeting agrees initial 4-point plan of action and undertakes to expand global coalition
Business leaders from some of the world’s top companies today formed a unique coalition to take the fight against the theft of intellectual property to the highest international level. Meeting under the banner “Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy” (BASCAP), the corporate leaders warned that this illegal activity – estimated at $600 billion – is threatening the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.
Business leaders today agreed an initial 4-point plan of action and launched a recruitment drive to mobilize other CEOs from different countries and the spectrum of affected industries. Industry sectors represented at the meeting included the food and drink, pharmaceutical, textile, home products, finance, television, software and music sectors. Participants included:
- Steven A. Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft, USA
- Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman & CEO, Nestlé, Switzerland
- Pierre Dufour, Deputy CEO, L’Air Liquide, France
- Jean-René Fourtou, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Vivendi Universal, France (BASCAP Co-Chair)
- David Iakobachvili, Chairman, Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods, Russia
- Sudhir Jalan, Vice Chairman, SICPA India Ltd
- Andrew Conway Gaorekwe Molusi, CEO, Johnnic Communications, South Africa
- Eric Nicoli, Chairman, EMI, UK (BASCAP Co-Chair)
- Yong Sung Park, Chairman, Doosan Group, Korea
- Tariq M. Rangoonwala, CEO, Home Products International, Pakistan
- Andrew Witty, President, Pharmaceuticals Europe, GlaxoSmithKline, UK
- Bob Wright, Vice Chairman & Executive Officer, General Electric, Chairman and CEO NBC Universal, USA
BASCAP, an initiative of ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) aims to:
- urge governments to act against piracy and counterfeiting and to allocate resources towards improved intellectual property enforcement;
- increase public and political awareness of the economic and social harm caused by counterfeiting and piracy and;
- ensure that intellectual property is respected and protected worldwide.
At this morning’s meeting, the CEOs agreed an initial, 4-point plan of action;
- to create counterfeiting and piracy indices, identifying issues that deserve greater attention within national IP protection programmes;
- to develop of a clearinghouse to share best practices and strategies and leverage existing industry efforts;
- to compile a compendium of case studies and statistics – the first global, cross-sectoral stocktake of the counterfeiting and piracy problem – which can be shared between businesses and governments;
- to develop educational materials for policy makers and the public to explain why IP rights should be respected and enforced.
Jean-René Fourtou, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Vivendi Universal and BASCAP Co-Chair, said: “ICC has already successfully worked to put counterfeiting and piracy on the agenda of G8 governments. The aim of BASCAP is twofold. To ensure governments now turn words into action and to help them raise awareness among the public of the seriousness of the problem.”
The business leaders aim to take targeted action against counterfeiting and piracy that involves all sectors and crosses national boundaries. During the meeting, they stressed that piracy and counterfeiting undermine consumer confidence in branded products and pose serious safety risks in areas such as food, medicines, toys and car parts. Economic damage done to creative industries such as film, music and business software have led to job losses and will lead to less choice for consumers.
Furthermore, the international police organization, Interpol, has pointed to increasing links between organized criminal networks and piracy. Tariq M. Rangoonwala, CEO, Home Products International, said: “Counterfeiting and piracy pose a massive problem for the economies of developing countries. It’s very difficult to attract foreign investment when your markets are flooded with fake products.”
He added: “It is in the longer-term interest of developing countries to assure IP protection as their own manufacturers move along the value-added chain and increasingly produce innovative technology at home.”
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman & CEO, Nestlé, said: “The fact that business leaders from so many sectors have united to combat counterfeiting and piracy gives an indication of the enormity of the issue facing the global economy. In our sector, we are particularly concerned about the risks for consumers from unsafe counterfeit products, and we count on the support of governments to address the issue.”
Today’s meeting took place at EMI headquarters in London and was organized by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Eric Nicoli, Chairman, EMI, and BASCAP Co-Chair, said: “BASCAP is about commanding respect for intellectual property in all its forms, regardless of industry or geography. We live in an age where virtually every sector in every country on the planet is contaminated by piracy and counterfeiting and this is having devastating effects on our businesses, the economy and wider society.
”The business leaders assembled today called on their peers worldwide to join in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. Their aim is to raise the issue at the highest levels nationally and internationally and seek greater cooperation between business and government to tackle this scourge. This business leadership group will build on the work of BASCAP which was launched by the ICC last year and now involves over 800 companies and trade organizations worldwide.
Guy Sebban, Secretary General of ICC, said: “ At our ICC/BASCAP meeting in London today, business leaders coming from four continents and representing a wide range of economic sectors have confirmed their support for our project to fight counterfeiting and piracy. We are confident that BASCAP will spur governments to fight with new determination against this illegal activity. We expect that this CEO group will grow in both size and influence as a powerful voice at national and international level.”