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Global companies say more government enforcement is what is needed most to win the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, according to the results of a new survey unveiled today by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Global companies say more government enforcement is what is needed most to win the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, according to the results of a new survey unveiled today by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The first annual BASCAP Global Survey on Counterfeiting and Piracy was conducted by ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative, in cooperation with the Cass Business School, part of City University, London. The survey polled 48 companies, many of which operate globally, spanning 27 product categories. The findings provide a snapshot of country and business efforts to stop the theft of intellectual property, which has become a substantial drain on business and has led to the widespread loss of jobs and a massive reduction in tax revenues. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman & CEO, Nestlé, said:
“Not only does unfair competition from counterfeiting and piracy worldwide drain billions annually from the ‘virtuous circle’ of economic growth that intellectual properly generates, but we are particularly concerned about the risks for consumers from unsafe counterfeit products. We urge the assistance of governments to curb the proliferation of counterfeit products.”

Meeting today in Geneva under the umbrella of BASCAP, CEOs and senior corporate officials from four continents, including those from some of the world’s largest companies, will discuss the survey results and announce a new plan to step up the fight against counterfeiting and piracy .

When asked which area would yield the best results in curbing counterfeiting and piracy – legislation, public education or investments in enforcement – survey respondents rated enforcement much higher than the other options.

“The survey shows a lot more work needs to be done on enforcement. We need to educate policymakers that greater investments in IP enforcement will translate into more jobs and tax revenues and also help them in the fight against organized crime,” said ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban.

The survey ranked the best- and worst-performing countries in addressing counterfeiting and piracy. Companies rated the US, UK, Germany and France, respectively, as having the most favourable IP environments. Also among the 10 best performers, in descending order were Japan, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Singapore and Australia.

Respondents named China and Russia, respectively, as the two worst-performing countries followed by India, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine.

“The mention of these bottom-performing countries shows the problem is indeed worldwide and requires a global solution. Focusing on one or two problem areas is simply not enough,” said Mr Sebban. Bob Wright, Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer, GE and Chairman and CEO, NBC Universal, said:

“This issue needs to be moved up on the agenda of every business leader, every trade organization, and every policymaker. At risk is every sector of our economy where creativity, innovation, and invention drive the creation of economic value and of high-wage jobs.”

Regarding business strategies to rein in the illegal activity, respondents said they spent over half their investment on anti-piracy technologies and product differentiation. “The investment of around 50% of R&D in technologies to thwart copying indicates that companies are working hard to stay a step ahead of the pirates,” Mr Sebban said.

Future surveys will examine the IP regimes of top-performing countries to identify best practices, flag problem areas and track progress. An index will rank country performance. 

Press briefing participants to include:

  • Jean-René Fourtou, Chairman, Vivendi Universal (BASCAP co-chair), France 
  • Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman & CEO, Nestlé, Switzerland 
  • Bob Wright, Vice Chairman & Executive Officer, General Electric Company; Chairman & CEO, NBC Universal, United States 
  • Jean-François Dehecq, CEO & President, Sanofi Aventis, France 
  • Guy Sebban, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce 
  • Jan Muehlfeit, Vice President Corporate Strategy Microsoft, EMEA 
  • Afaque Ahmed Khan, CEO, Hobo Collections, UAE 
  • Raaja Kanwar, Vice Chairman, UFO Moviez, India 
  • David Iakobachvili, Chairman, Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods, Russia  

The BASCAP meeting comes on the eve of the Third Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy (30-31 January, Geneva), hosted by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Interpol and the World Customs Organization with the support of the world business community. 

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