Strasbourg, France, October 17, 2008 – The International Chamber of Commerce’s BASCAP group today launched a set of intellectual property (IP) guidelines designed to help businesses manage copyright and branded materials, and deter trade in counterfeit and pirate goods.
During a special session at the European Union Conference on Industrial Property Rights in the Internal Market, in Strasbourg, France, the ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy initiative (BASCAP) launched the Intellectual Property Guidelines for Business to provide information to businesses on practical steps that they can take to protect their own innovation and creativity in IP-based products and services, as well as to protect against the risk of using counterfeit materials or infringing other companies’ IP rights.
With more than 8,000 member companies in over 130 countries, the Paris-based ICC is the largest, most representative private sector association in the world. It is represented in the United States by the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), its American national committee headquartered in New York.
Copyright and branded goods are an important part of every modern economy. The most innovative and advanced sectors rely heavily on IP to support innovation in their own products and services. Nearly every enterprise today uses or produces some form of IP in its business – from its own trademarks on products, to copyrighted publications, music, video or software, to branded goods or services of all types.
The BASCAP guidelines will help companies assess the effectiveness of their IP management policies, and to consider new options for improving performance and managing the risks associated with counterfeiting and piracy. They deal with IP management in all its forms within companies, from IP development to component sourcing, manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing, relations with intermediaries and handling of third parties’ IP.
“Counterfeiting and piracy of copyright and branded goods are a $600-billion worldwide problem which hurts not only consumers but also businesses and the overall economy,” said Richard Heath, vice president of global anti-counterfeiting for Unilever and co-chair of the BASCAP steering committee. “Good laws and government enforcement are crucial to combat this problem, but there is a lot that businesses can do to protect their own creative and innovative products, and to avoid the risk that their supply chain or company operations have been compromised by infringing items.”
Senior European Union officials applauded the move. “I am extremely pleased that ICC and BASCAP will unveil new IP guidelines to help business to manage and protect intellectual property,” EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevey told forum participants.
USCIB President Peter M. Robinson welcomed release of the BASCAP guidelines. “We strongly support the BASCAP initiative, and we are pleased that many American companies took a leading role in development of the guidelines,” he said. “Clearly this is a worldwide problem that requires a coordinated global solution. These guidelines provide a clear roadmap for any company looking to better protect its most important assets.”
ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban said the guidelines are designed to be useful to a wide range of businesses in different sectors, and are suitable to be tailored to deal more specifically with particular industries or sectors. “We hope the launch of the ICC-BASCAP IP Guidelines will introduce Forum participants and government officials to the guidelines and encourage the adoption of good IP management practices as part of corporate and public policies,” he said.
According to Jeff Hardy, ICC’s BASCAP coordinator, the launch is the first step in a worldwide rollout of the guidelines through ICC’s worldwide network. “Our first steps have been to provide copies to the ICC national committees and their member companies located in 90 countries worldwide. We have also provided the IP Guidelines to all BASCAP member companies for further distribution to their global affiliates. This year should be a busy year as we look forward to a series of workshops and roll-out events working with ICC national committees and their members large and small.”
USCIB promotes an open system of global commerce in which business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare and protection of the environment. Its membership includes some 300 U.S. companies, professional service firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $3 trillion. As American affiliate of the leading international business and employers organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade.
Jonathan Huneke, VP Communications, USCIB
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Dawn Chardonnal, ICC Communications Department
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