More stick than carrot against piracy

More government enforcement is what is needed most to win the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. This is according to the results of a new survey by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the first of its kind to research globally the issue of intellectual property (IP) protection.

by ICC/BASCAP
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Of the 53 countries surveyed, China and Russia come out way ahead in the rankings as having the least favourable IP environment. Several countries follow as worst offenders: India, Brazil and Indonesia to name just a few (see ranking below).

At the other end of the spectrum, 'model' players include the US, the UK, Germany and France, and companies involved in the study said that their decision to locate product development activities were closely linked to a country's policies on piracy and counterfeiting.

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and CEO of Nestlé, explains: "Not only does unfair competition from counterfeiting and piracy drain billions annually from the 'virtuous circle' of economic growth that IP generates, but we are particularly concerned about the risks to consumers from unsafe counterfeit products."

With advances in technology, the internet and file sharing, protecting IP is a constantly moving goal. It's no longer just about handbags and pirated DVDs. In fact, the respondents in the survey said that they spent about 50% of their R&D investment on anti-piracy technologies to thwart copying.

When asked what measures would most successfully curb piracy and counterfeiting - legislation, public education or better law enforcement - companies overwhelmingly felt enforcement was the best solution.

"The survey shows a lot more work needs to be done on enforcement," says ICC general secretary Guy Sebban. "We need to educate policy makers that greater investments in IP enforcement will translate into more jobs and tax revenues and also help them in the fight against organised crime."

The study served as a basis for discussion at a two-day global congress on counterfeiting and piracy organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) with Interpol and the World Customs Organisation on January 30-31 in Geneva.

Countries with the least favourable IP environment
1 China
2 Russia
3 India
4 Brazil
5 Indonesia
6 Vietnam
7 Taiwan
8 Pakistan
9 Turkey
10 Ukraine

Countries with the most favourable IP environment
1 United States
2 United Kingdom
3 Germany
4 France
5 Japan
6 Canada
7 Switzerland
8 Netherlands
9 Singapore
10 Australia

Source: ICC Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP)

Review by Emilie Filou

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