Global congress identifies priorities for combating counterfeiting and piracy
Counterfeiting and piracy are a global epidemic, reaching a scale now too great for individual governments, industry sectors or companies to solve.
In response, top government officials, business leaders and international law enforcement officials met in Geneva to call for a greater global marshalling of efforts and resources to counter the growing illegal trade in counterfeit and pirate products. The call for action came at the Third Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy, which convened in January 2007.
Over 1 000 delegates and 60 eminent speakers from 107 countries identified disturbing new developments in the growth of counterfeit and pirating activities and laid out recommendations for joint government-business initiatives to step up enforcement. Approximately 70 suggestions for action were distilled from the two days of debate and now constitute a valuable ‘blue-print’ for international, regional and national efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy.
At the congress, Kamil Idris, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said: “Counterfeiters and pirates are thwarting economic development and endangering health and safety. Their methods are sophisticated, their reach is far and their crimes claim victims every day.”
Robert Mallett, a senior vice-president at Pfizer, warned that one out of five individuals may use a counterfeit pharmaceutical within five years. Pirated and counterfeit goods are finding their way into legitimate distribution channels, while the Internet is making it easier for these illegal goods to reach consumers, congress delegates pointed out. At the same time, a lack of controls in free trade zones is making these areas attractive havens for counterfeiters.
The recommendations drawn up at the congress focused on raising awareness, improving cooperation & coordination, building capacity and promoting better legislation & enforcement. Among the suggested actions, delegates urged the following:
Review sanctions to ensure they act as strong deterrents to counterfeiters and pirates and are applied by national and local law enforcement officials and the judiciary;
Elaborate rules to facilitate seizures of counterfeit goods in free trade zones;
- Review proposals to develop an international treaty on the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit goods;
- Sufficiently train and equip national intellectual property (IP) enforcement units to enable efficient enforcement action and effective sanctions against counterfeiting and piracy; and
Establish guidelines for the global protection of IP rights. The Geneva recommendations will soon be consolidated with recommendations extending from the First Global Congress (Brussels 2004) and the Second Global Congress (Lyon 2005), forming a valuable body of knowledge that significantly advances the concept of a global consensus on priority actions that must be collectively undertaken by governments and industry in meeting their common goal of reducing counterfeiting and piracy.
The Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy has emerged as the premier global forum for government officials and business professionals to share information and best practice and discuss solutions to counterfeiting and piracy. WIPO, the International Criminal Police Organization and the World Customs Organization in cooperation with the International Trademark Association, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and the International Security Management Association partner in convening the annual international event.
An ICC initiative, Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), also fosters business collaboration with government and is working to secure more accurate data, share best practice, and raise public awareness of the damage wreaked by the illegal activity.
Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), also fosters business collaboration with government and is working to secure more accurate data, share best practice, and raise public awareness of the damage wreaked by the illegal activity.