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ASEAN countries fight trade in counterfeit goods

April 30, 2019 Visit ASEAN No Comments Email Email

The intensity of counterfeiting and piracy is on the rise, with significant potential risk for   intellectual property (IP) in the knowledge-based, open and globalised economy. 

International trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is estimated at up to EUR 460 billion

The share of counterfeit goods in world trade has increased from 2.5% in estimates released in 2016, to 3.3%

Enforcement officials, investigators, and prosecutors from across the ASEAN region discussed best practices for addressing the trade in counterfeit goods at a workshop on the enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights held in Manila last week. Talks covered online business models used for the infringement of IP rights, investigative techniques and intelligence gathering, as well as measures to combat infringement, particularly in the online environment.

The trade in counterfeit products diverts revenue from legitimate businesses, depletes innovation and development, and underpins organised crime networks. In addition, counterfeits are generally of low quality and are potentially harmful to consumers. A wide range of products are affected, including footwear, clothing, electrical machinery, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and toys.

A report released this year by the  European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that counterfeit and pirated goods represented up to 3.3% of world trade in 2016, or as much as EUR 460 billion. This share has grown significantly, from up to 2.5% estimated in 2013.

Presenting at the workshop, IP Enforcement Expert Erling Vestergaard, European Observatory on Infringements of IP Rights, highlighted a number of EU initiatives that address the issue. “Strong IP enforcement legislation in the EU provides police and customs agencies with the powers they need to successfully intercept counterfeit goods,” he noted to attendees.

The enforcement workshop is one of a series of activities to mark World Intellectual Property Day 2019 being conducted by the five-year, EU-funded ARISE+ IPR programme. Taking place back-to-back with the workshop, ARISE+ IPR is also hosting the 4th meeting of the ASEAN Network of IPR Enforcement Experts (ANIEE) in Manila on 25-26 April, as well as supporting ANIEE members’ participation in World Intellectual Property Day activities with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.

ANIEE consists of representatives from the ASEAN Member States involved in IPR enforcement and is tasked by the ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC) to undertake the implementation of the IPR enforcement initiatives under the ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2016-2025.

World Intellectual Property Day is held annually on 26 April to highlight the importance of IP in encouraging innovation and creativity. The global theme for 2019 is IP and Sports.

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