ICC Roles and Responsibilities of Intermediaries: Fighting counterfeiting and piracy in the supply chain

Roles and Responsibilities of Intermediaries: Fighting counterfeiting and piracy in the supply chain (2015)

The BASCAP paper on ‘Roles and Responsibilities of Intermediaries: Fighting counterfeiting and piracy in the supply chain’ sets out steps that intermediaries can take to help eliminate global supply chain vulnerabilities that allow infiltration of counterfeit and pirated products.

Produced by ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative, the paper sets out cross-cutting measures and best practices that will help intermediaries—ranging from express shipping companies to online search engines and market places—ensure that their systems are capable of eliminating the infiltration of counterfeit goods and pirated content.

Roles and responsibilities of Intermediaries

Intermediaries are the backbone of commerce and include suppliers of raw materials and components, transport, shipping and distribution companies, landlords and shop owners, online marketplaces, internet service providers, search engines and advertising networks, websites, credit card companies and even the popular social media sites.

Intermediaries, as the underlying infrastructure of all commerce have the inherent responsibility to restrict the abuse of their infrastructures for illicit trade. The greater the number of intermediaries and the more elaborate the supply chain, the more vulnerable the system is to infiltration and exploitation by counterfeiters. Experience shows that most intermediaries, when better informed about potential exploitation and the damage done by counterfeiting and piracy, demonstrate a willingness to secure their portion of the supply chain from abuse.

Purpose of the study

The BASCAP study examines several types of intermediaries, which are critical in the supply chain and are vulnerable to counterfeiting and piracy. Where current efforts have been inadequate in protecting against counterfeiting and piracy, the BASCAP study suggests measures to help responsible intermediaries more effectively deal with vulnerabilities in their operations.

The study aims to:

  1. Raises awareness of intermediaries’ vulnerabilities to criminal networks and other infringers who exploit them to facilitate the global trade in counterfeit merchandise
  2. Identifies current approaches to the problem through voluntary efforts on the part of intermediaries, enlisting them to engage both independently and with rights holders and authorities to discourage counterfeiting and piracy
  3. Identifies alternative approaches to the problem that intermediaries might consider in developing solutions
  4. Assesses whether these programs are working to deter the infiltration of counterfeit and pirated goods within these intermediary networks
  5. Presents BASCAP recommendations both specific to each intermediary and as a set of concluding general best practices. The result will encourage intermediaries to collaborate with rights holders and governments and more effectively address global counterfeiting and piracy problems
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