20 May 2017Ed Conlon

The Battle Against Counterfeiting: Collaboration Is Key

By 2022, the cost of crime due to counterfeiting will be US $125 billion, according to The Economic Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy, a report prepared for INTA and the International Chamber of Commerce Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy.

With so much at stake in the fight against criminal counterfeiting, brand owners, law enforcement officials, and others will need to work closely and efficiently to stamp out the scourge of fake goods.

The Annual Meeting in Barcelona is bringing together brand owners and government representatives in a special two-day workshop, which started yesterday, May 19, and finishes today. Titled Workshop—Strategy + Collaboration: The Key to Success Against the Crime of Counterfeiting, this session is open only to corporate and government officials.

On Friday, there were concurrent half-day workshops—one for brand owners and one for government officials—allowing registrants to discuss IP issues and how to better collaborate to resolve them. Stakeholders from around the world were well-represented in both tracks—in the government session, there were representatives from Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the United States.

When registrants return today, a full-day workshop will allow brand owners and government officials to discuss some best practices, criminal prosecution of counterfeiters, and how they can achieve more effective collaboration in the fight against counterfeits. Today’s topics will include a “how-to guide” on successful collaboration between the public and private sectors, discussion on conducting a successful criminal prosecution, and how to create an “authentic city.”

AUTHENTICITY is a program that was proposed by UNIFAB, INDICAM and ANDEMA to the European Observatory in 2014 when it requested campaigns to raise awareness about IP rights and counterfeiting. Under the program, one of 11 projects chosen for a grant from 120 applications, cities including Rome and Paris have dedicated themselves to protecting trademarks through collaboration with the city government and implementing awareness campaigns.

This initiative fits in nicely with the workshop’s main focus of collaboration, a process which requires several best practices. A key requirement here is communication, and one of INTA’s main objectives is to be a facilitator of best anticounterfeiting practices across jurisdictions, allowing for exchange and interaction between the public and private sectors. This includes bringing together law enforcement agencies (customs and judiciary), intermediaries (search engines, shippers, payment providers, etc.), brand owners, and the public and private sectors.

Jeremy Newman, Chair of INTA’s Anticounterfeiting Committee, EU Subcommittee, says, “While counterfeiting must clearly be addressed at a global level, there’s a great deal to be learned from local best practice.  The tremendous interest in this workshop confirms the appetite for effective public/private collaboration locally and across borders.”

He adds: “Today’s workshop will take the discussion beyond the general concepts of collaboration by facilitating the sharing of some very practical best practices.  We hope that participants will leave with new ideas, new contacts, and renewed optimism as to what can be achieved.”

The workshop is based at Hotel Santos Porta Fira, Plaça d’Europa, 45, 08908 Barcelona.

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