Eco­nomic con­se­quence of fak­ing it

There’s a cost to not guard­ing against coun­ter­feit­ing or piracy

Business Day - Business Law and Tax Review - - BUSINESS LAW & TAX REVIEW - AYE­SHA DA­WOOD

OP­ER­A­TION Bern­hard, the largest coun­ter­feit cur­rency scam hatched by Hitler’s Ger­many to flood the UK mar­ket with fake cur­rency and desta­bilise the UK econ­omy, in the end proved to be un­suc­cess­ful.

The eco­nomic fall­out for com­pa­nies which fail to im­ple­ment anti-coun­ter­feit and anti-piracy plans can be se­vere. It means loss of rev­enue, po­ten­tial brand value dam­age and in­creased pub­lic health and safety risks for con­sumers through use of non-com­pli­ant and po­ten­tially toxic ma­te­rial.

The fi­nan­cial im­pact is across sci­en­tific, tech­no­log­i­cal, in­dus­trial, com­mer­cial and cre­ative in­dus­tries. In­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights pro­tec­tion is also a stim­u­lus in job cre­ation. It is with­out doubt a boost for in­no­va­tion.

Com­pa­nies need to re­mem­ber that op­er­a­tions against trade­mark coun­ter­feit­ing and pi­rated copy­right need sup­port from a multi-skilled team con­sist­ing of legally qual­i­fied per­son­nel, busi­ness and prod­uct lead­ers, foren­sic investigators and in-coun­try law en­force­ment of­fi­cials rang­ing from cus­toms of­fi­cials, po­lice of­fi­cers and bor­der pa­trols.

Legally au­tho­rised search and seizure war­rants, and the im­pound­ing and stor­age of coun­ter­feit goods cou­pled with in-coun­try cus­toms em­bargo against the im­por­ta­tion of coun­ter­feit goods and in­for­ma­tion ex­changes be­tween com­pa­nies and en­force­ment of­fi­cials, are a nec­es­sary corol­lary to a suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion. So are crim­i­nal prose­cu­tions as well as online and phys­i­cal in-coun­try de­tec­tion op­er­a­tions.

Con­se­quently th­ese are an im­por­tant part of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

There is in­creased ac­tiv­ity in the sale of coun­ter­feit goods online. De­struc­tion of coun­ter­feit and pi­rated prod­ucts re­quires in­formed and trained per­son­nel. Spe­cially trained units are in­valu­able and it is worth your com­pany’s cor­po­rate so­cial in­vest­ment bud­get to in­vest in aware­ness train­ing of in-coun­try en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties. Ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness cam­paigns on coun­ter­feit prod­ucts, in­clud­ing clearly fake and poor qual­ity and/or falsely la­belled man­u­fac­tured goods can mit­i­gate against coun­ter­feit cre­ation in that con­sumers be­come aware of the in­her­ent dan­gers of poorly made elec­tronic com­po­nents as well the po­ten­tial ef­fects of toxic chem­i­cals and in­gre­di­ents.

Ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy in­evitably help cre­ate less of a mar­ket for fake notes — elec­tronic trans­fers of monies elim­i­nate cash ex­changes and hence re­liance on pa­per cash, and with it the po­ten­tial for coun­ter­feit notes.

Some prac­ti­cal hints: get your com­pany’s anti-coun­ter­feit/piracy op­er­a­tions into ac­tion and en­hance your bot­tom line. Prac­ti­cal en­force­ment and sound knowl­edge of reg­u­lated in-coun­try mech­a­nisms and laws of­fers a way for­ward to ef­fec­tive en­force­ment.

Aware­ness of in­ter­na­tional treaties, in­clud­ing the Patent Co-op­er­a­tion Treaty, the Paris Con­ven­tion, Berne Con­ven­tion, Rome Con­ven­tion, Wash­ing­ton Con­ven­tion and the Agree­ment on Trade Re­lated As­pects of In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Rights are im­por­tant.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion is crit­i­cal to a suc­cess­ful mit­i­ga­tion in coun­ter­feit and piracy trade. In lever­ag­ing anti-coun­ter­feit/piracy ini­tia­tives, com­pa­nies can do more for them­selves, pub­lic health and safety and the econ­omy. Sub­vert­ing an econ­omy was Op­er­a­tion Bern­hard’s aim but the po­ten­tial to be able to do so is not and should not be to­day’s re­al­ity.

Pic­ture: THINKSTOCK

GET­TING ON TOP OF GLOBAL TREATIES

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