ICC, the world business organization, today launched BASCAP - Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy
Before a gathering of some 70 business executives from 14 countries, ICC Chairman and Vivendi Universal CEO Jean-René Fourtou said the new initiative would "take the fight against intellectual property theft to a new level".
"Counterfeiting and piracy are among the greatest threats to business today," said Mr Fourtou. "There is currently no-one coordinating the fight across industries and across national borders. ICC, the world's only truly global business organization, is uniquely placed to lead this fight."
Mr Fourtou, CEO of Vivendi Universal, will form a group of up to 20 CEOs to help lead the initiative.
It is estimated that counterfeiting and piracy costs industry US$600 billion a year. Not only does business lose out, but costs are ultimately passed to consumers, governments are deprived of tax revenues, jobs are lost and much research and innovation never happens.
"Contrary to popular belief, the problems of counterfeiting and piracy are not simply limited to handbags and CDs," said Mr Fourtou. "This is a problem which affects all industry sectors, in all corners of the world.
"We are talking about theft. The theft of intellectual property is a criminal act - and we intend to do all we can to fight it."
Mr Fourtou said counterfeiting and piracy also had serious health and safety implications.
Citing figures from the World Health Organization, he said that up to 10 percent of all pharmaceuticals in the world were fake.
"Then there are fake spare car-parts," he added. "As much as 10% of car parts sold in the European Union are believed to be counterfeit. And we are increasingly seeing reconditioned aircraft components, passed off as new with fake certificates of authentication."
Mr Fourtou added that recent intelligence from Interpol indicated that organized crime and terrorists were increasingly turning to counterfeiting and piracy to fund their activities.
ICC Secretary General Maria Livanos Cattaui said BASCAP would complement already existing business initiatives to fight counterfeiting and piracy.
"With BASCAP we intend to leverage the many other business initiatives that are focussed sectorally and nationally into a cross-sectoral, global campaign," said Mrs Cattaui.
She said BASCAP will concentrate its efforts on mobilizing business, educating consumers and working with governments on the enforcement of intellectual property legislation.
Click here for further information on Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP)