Several years ago, in response to the growing threat to business from fake products, USCIB’s affiliate the International Chamber of Commerce launched BASCAP – Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy, which seeks to connect all business sectors and cut across national borders in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. With senior-level representation from numerous affected companies, industries and countries, BASCAP’s efforts focus on raising awareness and working with governments, law enforcement and international organizations in a joint effort to combat global intellectual property theft.
During the most recent BASCAP steering committee meeting, September 15-16 in New York, BASCAP members discussed its new Pro-IP work stream, which concentrates on developing a strong set of materials to promote the positive aspects of IP protection and its relation to innovation, economic growth/development and employment.
One feature of the work stream is a new BASCAP-IP Blog, which will strengthen the body of public knowledge in the realm of IP protection and create an outlet for BASCAP pro-IP work, including existing products such as the BASCAP IP Powerhouse report and its economic studies. The blog is an online location for commenting on issues of the day and will replace the data-oriented BASCAP Digest, with editorial comment.
BASCAP is preparing a report debunking economic “IP fallacies” related to growth, R&D, employment, and FDI. A number of interest groups have argued that counterfeiting and piracy are not associated with negative effects on society or the economy. Among the key assertions put forward by these groups, some of which made their way into a recent paper by the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization, are that counterfeiting and piracy create employment and provide income to workers, particularly in developing economies, and that counterfeiting and piracy provide competition for big business, spurring increased R&D spending and lower prices.
BASCAP also plans to add two annexes to its IP Guidelines for Business, which have thus far been launched in six languages. The first annex will address government use of software, with the goal of ensuring that governments take action to prevent IPR infringements in their computer systems. The second annex will focus on government procurement, i.e., what happens when governments themselves purchase counterfeit products in several sectors – transportation, medicines and medical supplies, electronics, software, and military and security supplies.
The steering committee also reviewed a scoping paper to address how IP-based businesses use various types of technical protection measures to deter counterfeiting and piracy, how these are or should be protected by regulation, and how the inherent limitations in such technologies militate against mandatory “one size fits all” solutions.
In the coming months, BASCAP plans to move forward with in-country initiatives in Turkey, Chile, Ukraine, Africa, China and India. There are also several reports in the pipeline, including on free trade zones, digital piracy in the U.S., what to do with confiscated goods, and a study on the role of intermediaries in the supply chain.