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Asean countries fight trade in counterfeit goods

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 rights held in Manila last week.

The 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.

According to a statement released by the workshop, 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 and the OECD estimates that counterfeit and pirated goods represented up to 3.3 per cent of world trade in 2016. This share has grown significantly, from up to 2.5 per cent estimated in 2013.

“Strong IP enforcement legislation in the EU provides police and customs agencies with the powers they need to successfully intercept counterfeit goods,” said IP enforcement expert Erling Vestergaard, highlighting a number of EU initiatives that address the issue.

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

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