Home » News & Speeches » ICC welcomes governments’ new anti-counterfeiting agreement and offers input

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) said today that its member companies welcomed the announcement of plans for a new Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to strengthen safeguards against the theft and infringement of intellectual property rights and offered to provide business views and expertise to reinforce this new commitment by governments.

The United States, European Union, Japan, Switzerland and Mexico said today they had reached agreement on a framework for a new multilateral agreement intended to establish a stronger set of common standards for intellectual property right enforcement among their countries. The new agreement calls for better international coordination, consensus on the best enforcement practices and alignment on provisions of their legal frameworks to ensure that adequate criminal, civil and border protection measures are in place. The initial group of countries hopes other developed and developing countries committed to intellectual property right enforcement will sign on to the agreement quickly.

“This is a significant step in the right direction and could provide a breakthrough in efforts to stop the escalating problems of product counterfeiting and copyright piracy,” said Jean-René Fourtou, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Vivendi and Co-Chair of ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative. “This new trade agreement builds on the important outcome declarations of the past three G8 Summits and is a tangible sign that governments have elected to take these issues seriously, elevate their attention to the problem of intellectual property theft, and implement corrective measures,” he said. “This agreement should supplement provisions in existing trade agreements and in national and regional government legislation and enforcement efforts.”

Fellow BASCAP Co-Chair Bob Wright, Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, General Electric, added: “Innovation, creativity and technological invention drive growth in today’s global knowledge-based economy. This proposed agreement recognizes that governments globally must escalate the sophistication and the intensity of their intellectual property enforcement efforts and represents an important contribution to stemming today’s destructive flood of counterfeiting and piracy.”

ICC, through its BASCAP initiative, has led a growing consensus among business, non-governmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations, calling for stronger actions and increased cooperation between governments and with the private sector to combat global infringements of intellectual property rights with greater enforcement.

“The global business community can no longer ignore the myriad adverse costs of counterfeiting and piracy,” said BASCAP Co-Chair Nobuyuki Idei, former CEO of Sony Corporation. “Immediate attention must be paid to the problem of intellectual property theft to ensure the present and future competitiveness of the knowledge economy, and this agreement is an important step,” he said.

The BASCAP leaders called on the governments that signed the agreement to move rapidly to translate the provisions into concrete actions. They cited several examples of immediate actions that could be taken, including steps to ensure that penalties for IP theft at least match existing legal penalties for theft of physical merchandise and that these penalties be applied to both online and offline transactions. They also cited the need to empower and fund enforcement agencies and the judiciary to enable them to implement stronger regulations and provisions for punishment.

The BASCAP leaders also expressed their hope that clear decisions and actions by the governments involved in the development of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement would establish precedents for global standards, enforcement, and governmental cooperation on IP crimes that other countries would take on board.

ICC stressed that the business community had a critical role to play in working with governments to fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

“It is essential that this renewed effort by the governments engaging in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement incorporate the views of the business community, as well as those of intergovernmental organizations and key developing countries,” said ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban. “We have already provided the G8 heads of state with a set of recommendations that could complement the ACTA process. We support the principles and objectives of this most recent effort and we look forward to seeing the text of the agreement,” he said.

In response to the growing problem of counterfeiting and piracy, the International Chamber of Commerce launched Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) to connect all business sectors and cut across all national borders in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. BASCAP unites the global business community so as to more efficiently identify and address intellectual property rights issues and petition for greater commitments by local, national and international officials in the enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights. While carrying out these functions, BASCAP also works to increase public awareness of the problems and dangers associated with intellectual property right violations.

The BASCAP Global Leadership Group is co-chaired by Jean-René Fourtou, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Vivendi; Nobuyuki Idei, former CEO of Sony Corporation and Representative Director of Quantum Leaps Corporation; and Bob Wright, Vice Chairman and Executive Officer of General Electric.

Standing members of  BASCAP’s Global Leadership Group include: Paul Adams, CEO of British American Tobacco; Philippe Amon, Executive Co-Chairman of SICPA; Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH; Steven  Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft; Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé; David Brennan, CEO of Astra Zeneca; Stephen Brogan, Managing Partner of Jones Day; André Calantzopoulos, President and CEO of Philip Morris International; Patrick Cescau, CEO of Unilever; Jean-Francois Dehecq, CEO of Sanofi Aventis; David Iakobachvili, Chairman of Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods; Afaque Ahmed Khan, CEO of Hobo Collections, UAE; Hiroshi Kimura, CEO of Japan Tobacco Inc.; Ulrich Lehner, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of Henkel; Robert McDonald, Chief Operating Officer of Proctor & Gamble; Tariq Rangoonwala, Chairman of Forhans, Pakistan; Sidney Taurel, Chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly; Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of SEB; Gerd Becht, Vice President of DaimlerChrysler; Andreas Fibig, Senior Vice President of Pfizer; Raaja Kanwar, Vice Chairman of UFO Moviez, India; Vincent Janssen, CEO of Sara Lee Household and Body Care; Randy Pond, Senior Vice President of Cisco Systems; Richard Wagoner, Chairman and CEO of General Motors.

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