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Enforcement is key to anti-counterfeiting

January 30, 2014

3 Min Read
Enforcement is key to anti-counterfeiting

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Global companies say that increased government enforcement will be the key to winning the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, according to results of a new study released earlier this year by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC [www.iccwbo.org]). The first annual "BASCAP Global Survey on Counterfeiting and Piracy," 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, reflects the feedback of 48 companies, the majority of which operate globally.

"Counterfeiting and piracy are among the biggest challenges facing business today," the study reads. "The problem, however, is particularly acute for firms that trade globally. These firms comprise the greater part of the survey population, providing first-hand country experience with counterfeiting and piracy, and thus are in a good position to provide an evaluation of the relative strengths and weaknesses of IP [intellectual property] environments in different countries."

Among the main findings of the study are the following:

  • Of the 53 countries listed by respondents as having the least favorable IP environment, the four worst performers were China, Russia, India and Brazil.

  • The main factors contributing to a country being regarded as having a least favorable IP environment include its unwillingness to fulfill its international IP obligations, as well as the local media's disregard for the importance of combating piracy and counterfeiting.

  • Of the 29 countries listed as having the most favorable IP environments, the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France are perceived to be the leaders when it comes to combating IP theft.

  • Respondents' rankings of the countries with the most favorable IP environments are based on the effective role of the media in raising public awareness of the issue and on strong public cooperation with enforcement agencies in fighting counterfeiting and piracy.

  • In a comparative analysis among the factors contributing to perceptions of a country as having a "most favorable" as opposed to a "least favorable" IP environment, the amount of resources a government omits to enforcement was a primary determining factor, followed by a clear government policy against piracy.

  • On the whole, respondents felt that legislation protecting IP is adequate even in countries with poor IP environments. Notes the study, "This reinforces the finding that respondents saw the lack of enforcement, rather than legislation, per se, as the crucial aspect of failure to protect IP in these countries."

  • The allocation of more resources to enforcement is seen as by far the most effective way of government's utilization of additional resources.

  • Firms see public education as an increasingly important method for combating counterfeiting and piracy.

  • Regarding business strategies to rein in the illegal activity, respondents said they spend more than half of their investment on anti-piracy technologies and product differentiation.

Upon the release of the study, Bob Wright, vice chairman and executive officer for General Electric Co. and chairman and CEO of 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."

The Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) was launched by the International Chamber of Commerce to connect all business sectors and cut across all national borders in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. For information on BASCAP and to access the complete study, go to www.iccwbo.org/bascap/.

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