UAE takes measures against counterfeits

Abu Dhabi: A massive influx of counterfeit products is taking its toll on the established brands as the UAE government plans to reduce the impact of a Dh10 billion annual import of fake products into the country. The UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE) and the Brand Owners Protection Group for the GCC and Yemen (BPG) on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to protect intellectual property rights and on initiatives against commercial fraud and counterfeiting in the UAE. Mohammad Ahmad Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shihhi, undersecretary of the MoE, told reporters that the MoU will “enhance our position to fight counterfeiting and piracy.” Al Shihhi said in 2006 the size of the parallel business in the UAE through counterfeited products was estimated at $2.7 billion (Dh10 billion), with clothing, software and hardware as its key components. According to industry estimates, counterfeiting is one of the most dominant forms of intellectual property rights violation and has evolved into a big threat, accounting for more than 10 per cent of the world trade. Estimates show that 35 per cent of software sold in the UAE is counterfeit. International estimates are higher at 38 per cent. Losses arising from the problem rose to $94 million (Dh345 million) in the UAE in 2007 – a 52 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure of $62 million, according to the annual survey conducted jointly by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and global market research firm IDC. International companies are estimated to be losing more than $60 billion a year because of copyright violation and violation in China. “Nobody can eliminate it, we are trying to minimise it,” said Al Shihhi. Sunday’s MoU is part of a series of strategic initiatives of the MoE in this regard. Al Shihhi said the MoU aims to provide full legal and technical support to the ministry’s agencies and partners, especially to inspectors belonging to the judicial police. Under the terms of the MoU, the BPG will provide legal and technical training to MoE specialists, inspectors, employees, and officials of departments and law enforcement agencies. BPG service providers will also cooperate with the ministry in providing the necessary legal support for law enforcement officials, such as legal analysis and studies. It will promote a culture of IPR protection through visual, audio, and print campaigns; these would highlight the importance of IPR; its protection against abuse; and the negative effects of IPR crimes. Growing losses – In 2006, the size of the parallel business in the UAE through counterfeited products was estimated at $2.7 billion. – Clothing, software and hardware are the key counterfeited items in the UAE. – Counterfeiting accounts for more than 10 per cent of the world trade. International companies are estimated to be losing more than $60 billion a year because of copyrights violation, trademarks and patents in China. – Estimates show that 35 per cent of software sold in the UAE is counterfeit. International estimates are higher at 38 per cent. – Losses arising from counterfeited software rose to $94 million (Dh345 million) in the UAE in 2007 – a 52 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure of $62 million, according to the annual survey conducted jointly by the Business Software Alliance and market research firm IDC. By Himendra Mohan Kumar, Staff Reporter G=Gulfnews.com

Par La Rando MIDDLE EAST