The Sixth Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy, meeting on February 2-3, 2011, is organized under the High Patronage of the President of the French Republic.
The Congress is hosted by France’s Industrial Property Office (INPI) and chaired by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It is co-organized by INPI, WIPO, INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization (WCO), in co-operation with the world’s business community represented by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) through its BASCAP (Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy) initiative, and the International Trademark Association (INTA).
Opening the meeting, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said “The Sixth Global Congress represents an outstanding opportunity for the public and private sector to come together and to provide international leadership on the challenges of combating counterfeiting and piracy. Under the theme of ‘Building Respect for Intellectual Property’, this Congress addresses the overlapping social, economic and political dimensions of counterfeiting and piracy, and the need for targeted, integrated responses from a variety of actors.” Mr Gurry said “WIPO’s work in the field of building respect for intellectual property seeks to facilitate a constructive and balanced international policy dialogue on common challenges and creative solutions. It is therefore with great pleasure that we join with our partners and co-hosts in this rich and stimulating programme.”
INPI Director General Yves Lapierre welcomed participants and said that France is proud to host this important gathering. This reflects the commitment of the French Government to bring together all sectors – from all countries – in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, he noted. Mr LaPierre outlined the French Government’s actions to combat counterfeiting and piracy, which he noted have devastating effects both on the health and safety of consumers, as well as the economy. He said that INPI was active both on the national and international front to ensure respect for intellectual property, which is now widely regarded as a tool for development, and promoted public-private sector partnerships in the fight against counterfeiting. In addition to the creation of a National Anti-Counterfeiting body in 1995, which is premised on strong private-public partnership, France also developed in 2004 an international network dedicated to anti-counterfeiting – forty experts are posted in French embassies and economic services in over 80 countries.
Highlighting the recent Operation Jupiter during which counterfeit goods worth more than 200 million US dollars were seized and nearly 1,000 arrests made INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said that benefits of combining public-private sector expertise were evident, and that the Global Congress represented the strong partnership which had helped make a difference. “INTERPOL has steadily increased its efforts and resource commitment to combat counterfeiting and piracy producing tangible results worldwide, not least in protecting the public from potentially lethal fakes and counterfeits. The Sixth Global Congress is an occasion for us all to identify how we can individually and collectively generate even greater successes in combating counterfeiting.
“To successfully tackle counterfeiting and piracy requires committed international cooperation and coordinated national action,” said WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya. “The public-private partnership which underpins the Global Congress is the ideal platform for finding innovative solutions to the threats that counterfeit and pirated goods pose to consumer health and safety,” he added.
ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier pointed out that “Counterfeiting and piracy continue to generate massive economic and employment dislocations at a time when governments are most hard-pressed to maintain economic stability and create jobs. Despite more visibility, more programmes and more cooperation among various stakeholders, the problem continues to escalate.” Mr Carrier said “New research to be reported at the Congress will show that the total impact of this illicit trade in fakes is staggering, with more than US$1-trillion in annual losses to global economies, governments and consumers and potentially more than 2 million jobs at risk,” adding “It is essential that all stakeholders renew their commitment to find new and creative solutions, and ICC, through its BASCAP programme is doing that, and we will introduce new initiatives at this Congress providing new data, new support for the role of IP in driving innovation and new programmes to educate consumers on why they should stop buying fakes.”
INTA President Gerhard Bauer said “Counterfeiting and piracy cost governments and businesses billions of Euros in revenue each year, and the social and health risks they have on the public are alarming. In today’s interconnected world, these risks are no longer isolated to one country, region, demographic or economic class. This is why the Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy is so important.” He added “It allows committed governments and organizations from all over the world to strengthen their coordinated efforts to combat counterfeiting, and to further educate the public on the economic, social and health risks posed by these crimes.”
Under the theme ”Building Respect for IP: Sustainable Solutions to a Global Problem,” discussions at the Global Congress will focus on a balanced approach to combating counterfeiting and piracy, underscoring the link between building respect for intellectual property and sustainable development. Overall, the Congress will seek to create a better understanding of the elements underlying the trade in illegitimate goods, and to discuss sustainable solutions to end it.
To view details of previous meetings and the Sixth Global Congress, including the program and list of speakers, please click here