Business Leaders Unveil New Strategies to Combat Counterfeiting and Piracy

Top members of BASCAP (Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy) met today in New York.
Top members of BASCAP (Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy) met today in New York.

New York, March 3, 2008 – Industry leaders from around the world today unveiled new strategies to combat counterfeiting and piracy, including a set of urgent recommendations for a global anti-counterfeiting pact being negotiated by major trading countries.  In addition, they called on heads of G8 countries to lead the way in improving national intellectual property enforcement regimes and announced a set of their own in-country initiatives beginning with Canada, Germany, the UK, Russia, China and the United States.  The CEOs also announced plans for a ground-breaking consumer education campaign that will take a global approach to building awareness of the damages caused by counterfeiting and piracy.

The CEOs and senior corporate executives of the International Chamber of Commerce’s BASCAP (Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy) initiative met today in New York with the U.S.  Trade Representative Susan Schwab and top representatives of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to agree on joint efforts to tackle counterfeiting and piracy.  The CEOs called on Ambassador Schwab to move quickly towards completing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in cooperation with its trading partners, and pledged their support to work with WCO and WIPO.

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 based in New York.  Top USCIB member representatives took part in today’s BASCAP meeting.

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and USCIB President Peter M. Robinson.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and USCIB President Peter M. Robinson.

ICC has pushed for business to become more involved in developing ACTA, which was introduced in October by the U.S., European Union, Japan, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and other countries.  The new agreement would focus on filling the gaps not covered by existing multilateral agreements, including stronger enforcement measures, improved international cooperation and a strong legal framework for intellectual property protection.

“It is a positive step and very encouraging that the U.S., EU, Japan and many other major developed countries have recognized the need for a new multilateral agreement dealing with this critical issue,” said Bob Wright, vice chairman and executive officer of General Electric and co-chair of BASCAP.  “It now is essential that the parties keep the momentum going and move quickly to the next stage of developing a process and drafting the ACTA framework agreement.  BASCAP members and others in the private sector are committed to working closely with governments to support this process.”

ICC and the International Trademark Association (INTA) have teamed up to support ACTA.  “Expectations for ACTA are high,” said Alan C. Drewsen, INTA’s executive director.  “This proposed agreement has the potential to deliver significant improvements in establishing stronger international guidelines and standards, and providing national governments with clear directives for action.”

The two global business organizations today presented a paper outlining their recommendations to Ambassador Schwab.  ICC and INTA will distribute the paper to the leaders of the EU, Japan, Korea, Mexico and other governments, and will work with business organizations around the world to press governments to finalize an agreement.

Ambassador Schwab added: “With ACTA we are aiming to set a new, higher international standard for intellectual property rights enforcement, one that addresses today’s challenges.  Private-public collaboration is a vital component in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.  That’s why we welcome BASCAP and INTA’s support and continued input as we move forward with ACTA.”

ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban said: “Quite simply, there is a need for a new gold standard to guide government performance on IP enforcement.  We hope that ACTA can emerge as this new standard, especially since the existing regimes just aren’t enough.”

Business Leaders Call for G8 Action

BASCAP executives expressed concern that little concrete action has been taken on promises made at G8 meetings in 2006 and 2007.  “The work program laid out today comes at a critical time.  Counterfeiting and piracy are taking a tremendous toll on the global economy.  The situation is getting worse, not better,” said Jean-Rene Fourtou, chairman of the supervisory board of Vivendi and a BASCAP co-chair.  “While some progress has been made, individual governments need to do more.”

“Today we are calling on G8 leaders to respond to the recommendations by BASCAP prior to the Summit in Germany last year by taking immediate actions to shut down flagrant counterfeit markets and to work with us to find appropriate steps on other recommendations,” said Nobuyuki Idei, BASCAP co-chair, representative director of Quantum Leaps Corporation and former CEO of Sony Corporation.

BASCAP will launch country-based action centers to leverage local business voices and push for tangible actions at the national level.  The initiative will begin this year with Canada, Germany, the UK, Russia, China and the United States.

“Our focus is on setting benchmarks for global performance by governments and companies, framing decisions for policymakers, pushing for the allocation of resources at the highest levels in national governments and improving awareness on a global basis,” said ICC’s Mr. Sebban.

WCO Leader Calls for Cooperation to Stop Flow of Fakes

Border control will be a critical element in strengthening each country’s intellectual property enforcement regime.  Business leaders pledged to support the World Customs Organization’s latest plans to strengthen customs efforts to stop the flow of counterfeit goods across borders.

WCO Secretary General Michel Danet cautioned: “Counterfeiting and piracy continue to increase at an alarming rate.  We have to invent our own future; it’s time to step up our action in collaboration with the private sector and the time is now.”

Business/Government to Cooperate on New Consumer Education Campaign

BASCAP today also announced plans for a new consumer awareness and education campaign that could be used by ICC’s national committees and brand protection groups to spell out the dangers of counterfeit and pirated goods.  BASCAP announced plans to work with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and seek out other government partnerships on the campaign.

WIPO Deputy Director Michael Keplinger said: “We cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching and acute threats posed by the spread of counterfeiting and piracy.  A coherent global response requires coordination and cooperation among all stakeholders − governments in developed and developing countries, intergovernmental institutions, the private sector and consumers.” He added: “Joining forces, the public and private sectors can make great strides in changing perceptions about the seriousness of the problem and we look forward to collaborating with BASCAP companies in taking concrete steps to raise public awareness about the issue.”

The BASCAP Global Leadership Group includes some of the world’s largest companies.  Today’s meeting marked the third time the group has met since the cross-sector initiative was launched by ICC in 2005.

Participants at today’s meeting included:

  • Bob Wright, vice chairman and executive officer, General Electric (U.S.)
  • Nobuyuki Idei, representative director of Quantum Leaps Corporation and former CEO of Sony Corporation (Japan)
  • Jean-René Fourtou, chairman of the supervisory board, Vivendi (France)
  • David Iakobachvili, chairman, WBD Foods (Russia)
  • Jean-François Dehecq, chairman, Sanofi-Aventis (France)
  • Doug Morris, CEO, Universal Music (U.S.)
  • Kevin Havelock, president, Unilever United States (United Kingdom)
  • Blair Westlake, corporate vice president, media & entertainment group, Microsoft (U.S.)
  • Andreas Fibig, senior vice president, U.S. Pharmaceutical Operations, Pfizer (U.S.)
  • Marc-Antoine Jamet, secretary general, LVMH (France)
  • Pat Heneghan, global CEO advisor on anti-illicit trade, British American Tobacco (UK)
  • Guy Sebban, secretary general, International Chamber of Commerce
  • Michel Danet, secretary general, World Customs Organization
  • Michael Keplinger, deputy secretary general, World Intellectual Property Organization
  • Ambassador Susan Schwab, U.S.  trade representative

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.

Contact:

Jonathan Huneke

VP Communications, USCIB

+1 212 703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

BASCAP website

More on USCIB’s Intellectual Property Committee

Staff Contact:   Kira Yevtukhova

Acting Director of Communications
Tel: 202.617.3160

Kira Yevtukhova manages USCIB’s print and online publications, including the website, e-newsletter and quarterly magazine, and serves as the organization’s digital media strategist. Prior to this role, Kira worked for over five years within USCIB’s Policy Department, focusing on climate change, environment, nutrition, health, and chemicals related policy issues. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and is currently pursuing an MBA at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.
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