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A new paper from Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), an initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), reports on the role that landlords and property owners can play as intermediaries in the counterfeit or pirated goods supply chain if they lease their premises to those involved in trademark counterfeiting, copyright piracy or other forms of illicit trade.

BASCAP presented the new paper, Measures to Engage Landlords in the Fight against Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Best Practices for Landlords, Governments and Enforcement Agencies today at the Europol IP Crime Conference in Antwerp, Belgium.

According to the paper, landlords and property owners control facilities that may be used for production, assembly, storage, distribution or retail sales of counterfeit and pirated goods and other forms of illicit trade. The paper includes recommendations for landlords, governments and law enforcement agencies to remove and prevent counterfeit and pirated goods out of physical marketplaces.

The paper on landlord intermediaries is the latest action by BASCAP to engage with intermediaries following the publication of its March 2015 BASCAP report Roles and Responsibilities of Intermediaries – Fighting Counterfeiting and Piracy in the Global Supply Chain. The report sets out cross-cutting measures and best practices for intermediaries—ranging from shipping companies to online search engines and physical and online marketplaces.

“Physical marketplaces are being exploited by criminals to trade in counterfeit and pirated goods at massive scale in places easily accessible to consumers,” said BASCAP Director William Dobson. “These best practices are a timely and important blueprint to help landlords prevent counterfeiters from using their properties and to assist governments and law enforcement agencies in stopping this activity and protecting consumers.”

Speaking on the Europol conference panel on ‘The Evolving Roles and Responsibilities of Intermediaries in Fighting Counterfeiters’, Paola Piccoli, Chair of BASCAP’s Landlords Working Group and Head of Brand Enforcement and IP Counsel, Maus Freres/Lacoste said: “Property owners and landlords are a critical link in the global supply chain for legitimate commerce and most landlords are responsible partners who do not want to do business with criminals engaging with illegal counterfeiting and piracy practices. However, whether knowingly or unknowingly, some of these landlords are aiding the criminal networks trading in counterfeit and pirated goods, and this must be stopped.”

The paper addresses a wide range of challenges faced by landlords and presents measures designed to assist them in keeping fakes out of their facilities:

  • Landlords should take steps such as sustained due diligence checks, implementation of strict policies in physical markets to ensure tenants are not engaging in illegal activities, and increased cooperation with brand owners to facilitate the detection of infringing goods. The paper also contains model provisions for landlords to include in their lease agreements to ensure that tenants who engage in counterfeit and pirated goods face extreme consequences including termination of the lease, eviction and forfeiture of the deposit amount.
  • Governments need to clarify the conditions under which a landlord may be liable for tenants engaging in counterfeit and pirated goods and enforce sanctions against landlords who fail to take appropriate actions to deter IP infringing activities on their premises.
  • Enforcement agencies should conduct regular and sustained enforcement actions and promote and implement voluntary programs for landlords to avoid renting of premises to criminals engaging in counterfeit and pirated goods.

“Increased collaboration among landlords, brand owners, government and law enforcement agencies to develop and consistently apply voluntary practices is the best defence for disrupting trade in counterfeit and pirated goods and the best protection of consumers from fraud”, Mr Dobson said.

The Europol panel on intermediaries included a discussion on other key intermediary channels including maritime vessels and small package delivery companies and online intermediaries such as search engines, marketplace platforms and domain name registers. Panelists presented best practices for each of these channels to prevent the infiltration of counterfeits and pirated goods from entering the legitimate supply chain.

For more information, contact:

  • Tracy Faustin
  • +33 1 49 53 28 27
  • Project Manager, BASCAP
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