Representatives from intergovernmental organizations, national governments, enforcement agencies and business are participating in the Fourth Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy being held in Dubai from 3-5 February 2008. The meeting is organized under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who is President of Dubai Airports Corporation, President of the Department of Dubai Civil Aviation, and Chairman and CEO of the Emirates Group, officially opened the Congress on behalf of Dubai’s ruler.
The Fourth Global Congress is being hosted by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and Dubai Customs. Along with the WCO, the Congress is convened by Interpol and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with the cooperation of the world’s business community represented by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) through its Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative, the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the International Security Management Association (ISMA). It is the first Congress held away from the European headquarters of WCO, Interpol and WIPO.
Senior policy makers and experts from more than 18 countries will address the Congress on a range of issues. One critical focus will be t he health and safety risks counterfeit products pose to consumers. Other themes include raising awareness of the full economic and social costs of counterfeiting and piracy; the growing problem of the sale of counterfeit and pirated products over the Internet; and strengthening cooperation and collaboration at the global level.
In his opening remarks, Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Director General of Dubai Customs, said: “Dubai’s ever increasing reputation for excellence in trade will not be allowed to be tarnished by those who wish to trade in goods and services that do not respect intellectual property rights or patent protections.”
WCO Secretary General, Michel Danet, who holds the presidency of the Fourth Global Congress, said: “Nothing has changed; counterfeiting and piracy continues to grow at an alarming rate and these fake products, which often prove fatal to consumers, are now being produced on an industrial scale.” Mr. Danet added: “We have to invent our own future; it’s time to take action and the time is now.”
Speaking on behalf of Kamil Idris, Director General of WIPO, Michael Keplinger, Deputy Director General, said: “We cannot afford to ignore the threats posed by the escalation in counterfeiting and piracy. The development of a coherent global response calls for determination and ingenuity, as well as concerted coordination and cooperation among all stakeholders − countries, developed and developing alike and their governments, intergovernmental institutions, the private sector and consumers.” He added: “While the challenge is great, there are encouraging signs of change in perception and readiness for action.”
“The targets of counterfeiting and piracy range from the poorest and most vulnerable citizens in our society to the richest and most powerful corporations in the world, but all of us share an equal right to be free from dangerous counterfeit products and widespread theft and piracy,” said Ronald Noble, Secretary General of Interpol. “To address this risk, governments, law enforcement and especially the private sector need to continue to identify complementary strategies for tackling this truly global crime problem in ways that produce concrete results.”
“The impact of this illegal trade on consumer health and safety, on economic development, and on the involvement of organized crime can no longer be tolerated,” said David Benjamin, Co-Chair of ICC’s BASCAP initiative and Senior Vice President of Universal Music. “Government and business leaders urgently need to come to a common understanding of the actions required to stop these criminals and the toll they are taking on our societies. Effective legislation and enforcement are the essential global priorities to be addressed at this Congress and in the year ahead,” said Mr Benjamin.
Richard Heath, President-Elect of INTA, Co-Chair of BASCAP and Vice President of Unilever added: “The first three Congresses certainly have contributed to building awareness and momentum, but given the growing impatience from all parties concerned about these issues, this fourth Congress must lead us to concrete ideas and commitments for actions that result in tangible progress.”
The Global Congress to Combat Counterfeiting and Piracy was previously hosted by WIPO in January 2007 in Geneva; by Interpol in 2005 in Lyon, France; and by WCO in 2004 in Brussels. These international gatherings have provided a valuable forum for representatives from both the public and private sectors to pool their experience, raise awareness, enhance cooperation and identify strategies to deal more effectively with the global problem of counterfeiting and piracy.
Details of previous meetings and the Fourth Global Congress, including the program and list of speakers, are available at www.ccapcongress.net.