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ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) group today launched a set of intellectual property (IP) guidelines designed to help businesses in Latin America protect their copyright and branded materials, and deter trade in counterfeit and pirated goods.

The Intellectual Property Guidelines for Business were released in Spanish and Portuguese during a special session at the Fifth Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy in Cancun, Mexico.

The IP Guidelines provide information to businesses on practical steps they can take to protect their own innovation and creativity in IP-based products and services, as well as to protect against the risk of using counterfeit materials or infringing the IP rights of other companies.

“Counterfeiting and piracy of copyright and branded goods are a US$750 billion worldwide problem which hurts consumers and the overall economy,” said ICC’s BASCAP Coordinator Jeffrey Hardy.

“While most of our efforts at ICC are concentrated on communicating to governments the importance of intellectual property and the critical need to protect it against counterfeiting and piracy, we emphasize that everyone has a responsibility to protect IP, including consumers, the media and actors throughout the supply chain,” Mr Hardy added.

Copyright and branded goods are an important part of every modern economy. The most innovative and advanced sectors rely heavily on IP to support innovation in their own products and services. Nearly every enterprise today uses or produces some form of IP in its business – from its own trademarks on products to copyrighted publications, music, video, software, branded goods or services of all types.

The ICC/BASCAP IP Guidelines were developed to help companies assess the effectiveness of their IP management policies, and provide new options for improving performance and managing the risks associated with counterfeiting and piracy. The IP Guidelines deal with IP management in all its forms within companies, from IP development to component sourcing, manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing, relations with intermediaries and handling of third parties’ IP.

“The IP Guidelines are designed to be useful to a wide range of businesses in different sectors, and are suitable to be tailored to deal more specifically with particular industries or sectors,” said Richard Heath, Vice President, Legal, Global Anti-Counterfeiting Counsel for Unilver and BASCAP co-chair.

“We hope the launch of the ICC-BASCAP IP Guidelines will introduce government officials in Mexico and across Latin America to the guidelines and encourage the adoption of good IP management practices as part of corporate and public policies,” Mr Heath said, adding that guarding against IP crime has not commanded the attention, the respect, the resources or the public policy response that are necessary.

“Now is not the time to look the other way – not here in Mexico or in Latin America, not anywhere else in the world. Greater investment in – and protection of – IP is more critical than ever to reverse the economic downturn and maintain social stability,” he said.

Jorge Amigo, Director General of IMPI, the Mexican government department responsible for intellectual property rights protection, applauded the launch of the Guidelines in Mexico.

“We welcome these new IP Guidelines as a useful industry effort to improve corporate IP policies and practices,” Mr Amigo said. “This is an important contribution to the overall effort to combat piracy and counterfeiting. Governments will be able to use these guidelines themselves, particularly in the internal management of IP-based goods and services in the governments’ own operations.”

The goal is to distribute the guidelines, which have been released in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic and most recently Chinese, to companies around the world.

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