With industry consistently citing enforcement as the key element missing in developing a stronger national intellectual property strategy for India, the report calls on the government of India to strengthen enforcement of trademark and copyright laws and regulations.
Produced in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and their Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE), the report, Counterfeiting, Piracy and Smuggling in India - Effects and Potential Solutions aims to raise awareness of the serious consequences of the increase in counterfeiting and piracy in India, and the need for more government attention to the issues, at the Central, Regional and State levels.
Report findings were revealed at a major BASCAP-FICCI-CASCADE conference "Trade In Counterfeit, Pirated And Smuggled Goods - A Threat To India's National Security And Economy," held in New Delhi last week.
The paper outlines the economic and consumer consequences of trademark and copyright infringement; provides specific sector evidence of the scope of the problem in India; and finally, based on interviews with Indian rights holders and multinationals, provides specific recommendations to improve enforcement of IP protection laws and regulations in India.
Presenting report findings to conference participants - including India Minister of Finance, Jesudasu Seelam, and other senior Government of India officials - William Dobson, Deputy Director of BASCAP said: "India's leaders have recognized the importance of fostering creativity and innovation as a key to future economic growth. However, the full value of such innovation can only be recognized if there is a clear legal and regulatory system that protects the intellectual property rights of the creators, inventors and innovators. India has a strong IP regime in place, but must do more to strengthen enforcement of these regulations."
With the aim of promoting a better understanding of the socio-economic consequences of counterfeiting, piracy and smuggling and the impact on national security, the conference also saw participation from leading industry consumer associations and NGO's. Speakers representing international and intergovernmental organizations, including the World Customs Organization (WCO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), shared their expertise and experiences with delegates from India and other countries.
The conference looked at the economic consequences of counterfeiting and piracy in India, and explored what is needed from the public and private sectors to deter this activity.
"This event is an important opportunity for government officials and experts to exchange views and put forward practical recommendations to resolve the problem of the counterfeiting and piracy in India," Mr Dobson said. "Combating counterfeiting and piracy must become a public policy priority in India. "This effort must start with the government sending a clear message this activity will no longer be tolerated - backed up by increased enforcement of India's IP laws."
Counterfeiting and piracy is a global problem, causing enormous costs and serious impacts. Markets for illicit goods and services are an escalating problem that adversely impacts legitimate industries, public health and consumer trust, government revenues and economies as a whole.
Counterfeit, pirated and smuggled goods contribute to the proliferation of diseases and accidents, generate revenue for organized criminal networks, and are a factor in regional instability, unfair competition and safety threats. This represents a significant threat to countries and in particular large emerging economies such as India. It is estimated that two billion individuals in the world are directly affected by non-compliant consumer products, especially by fraudulent food and counterfeit medicines, causing injury, poisoning and, in many cases, death.
The full set of policy and legislative recommendations are delineated in the report.
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