INTA's Anticounterfeiting Committee, Middle East and Africa Subcommittee recently held two policy dialogues in the United Arab Emirates to discuss the issue of online counterfeiting. The dialogues, organized by Subcommittee member Munir Suboh (BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP, United Arab Emirates), were held on June 20 and July 1, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively.
The first event took place at the office of the General Administration of Customs Authority in Abu Dhabi, and included participants from the Customs Authority's Intellectual Property Rights Department, Legal Department, Intelligence Department, and Risk Management Department, as well as brand owners and local intellectual property (IP) professionals.
Mr. Suboh began by providing an overview of INTA and the ongoing activities of the Anticounterfeiting Committee in the region that have taken place through policy dialogues and meetings with enforcement officials. Ensuing discussions focused on online anticounterfeiting efforts, and the need to improve border procedures to track and seize counterfeit goods.
Customs authorities and attendees focused on the importance of tracking and interdicting small shipments, particularly in light of the fact that the number of small parcels has been increasing due to the expansion of the Internet. Customs authorities noted that training from brand owners on product identification would be most welcome, and emphasized the need for information that would improve inspectors' ability to determine the risk factors of shipments.
The Customs Authority designated a contact officer at the Intellectual Property Rights Department to receive all feedback and shipment information and pass it on to the Risk Management Department and Intelligence Unit. Attendees agreed that enforcement body stakeholders, such as the police and customs officials, should meet for further discussions on coordination and enforcement.
In Dubai, INTA participated in a dialogue on online counterfeiting with officials from the National Media Council (NMC), which coordinates with law enforcement agencies responsible for IP protection, such as the Ministry of Economy, the police, and the Telecom and Regulatory Authority.
This dialogue—the first such meeting between INTA and the NMC—included introductory discussions on the responsibilities and objectives of both organizations. The NMC outlined the scope of the Council's authority to monitor IP rights violations online, and expressed interest in working with INTA and other stakeholders to combat online counterfeiting.
Both events in the United Arab Emirates concluded with the determination that all stakeholders should continue to meet through policy dialogues and workshops in order to keep communication lines open—and to share information that will help combat counterfeiting.
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