By Peter M. Robinson
USCIB’s value rests not just in its ability to mobilize leading companies in support of common goals, but in translating this into international action through our unique global network — the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organisation of Employers, and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD. These worldwide groups form a key platform for engaging government leaders and policy makers on a wide range of issues.
Recent developments in ICC’s BASCAP (Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy) initiative demonstrate how important this network can be. There are few more pressing concerns for global companies than combating the skyrocketing proliferation of fake products, which threatens not only the bottom line and reputation of companies around the world, but also the health and safety of consumers. ICC’s genius is to marry businesses from different affected industries in many parts of the world in this common pursuit.
Last October, ICC convened a CEO-level BASCAP Global Leadership Group, made up of 17 company CEOs and chairmen – including Microsoft CEO Steven A. Ballmer and NBC Universal Chairman and CEO Bob Wright – committed to raising consumer and government awareness about intellectual property rights. The four-point plan of action on which they agreed aims to:
- Create counterfeiting and piracy indices, identifying issues that deserve greater attention within national IP protection programs.
- Develop a clearinghouse to share best practices and strategies.
- Compile case studies and statistics that can be shared between businesses and governments.
- Develop educational materials to explain why IP rights should be respected.
The coming months will see results delivered on each of these goals. A BASCAP web site has been set up at www.iccwbo.org/bascap, where visitors can download a fact-sheet with compelling arguments for protecting intellectual property. Supported by ICC’s Commercial Crime Services unit, a database of the negative effects of counterfeiting and piracy will be ready shortly, and the City University of London’s Cass Business School will undertake a benchmark survey on business perceptions of IPR protection.
Next steps include a possible CEO session with the European Commission in April, and meetings with government leaders ahead of the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg this July. We need your support for this important initiative to continue to bear fruit. If your company is not already involved in BASCAP, we encourage you to do so at the highest possible level. Counterfeiting and piracy are global problems, and their eradication will entail global cooperation and global solutions. We urge you to join us in this fight.