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

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Multinationals Welcome Plans for Anti-Counterfeiting Pact

BASCAPNew York, N.Y., October 23, 2007 – Plans for a new international agreement to coordinate enforcement efforts to curtail counterfeit goods won a thumbs-up today from representatives of America’s top global companies.  The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), whose members include more than 300 U.S.-based multinational companies and affiliated organizations, said better enforcement was urgently needed to stop an epidemic of intellectual property rights theft.

Representatives of the United States, European Union, Japan and other countries plan to launch negotiations leading to a new multilateral agreement to strengthen common standards for intellectual property rights enforcement.  The governments said they hoped other developed and developing countries committed to intellectual property rights enforcement would quickly sign on to the agreement.

“If successful, this initiative could be a major turning point in the worldwide fight against fake products,” said USCIB President Peter M. Robinson. “Rampant counterfeiting and piracy threaten not just companies’ bottom lines, but also the health and safety of consumers, the competitiveness of national economies and the foundations of our global economy.  There are few more pressing concerns for global companies.”

The proposed International Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement would spell out measures for better international coordination of anti-counterfeiting efforts, put forward agreed best practices for enforcement and align signatories’ legal frameworks to ensure that adequate criminal, civil and border protection measures are in place.

USCIB supports a statement from leaders of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and its BASCAP (Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy) initiative, offering to provide business views and expertise to reinforce this new commitment by governments. BASCAP is a global effort to coordinate the business community’s response, across industry segments and across national boundaries, in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

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 over 300 U.S. companies, professional service firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $3.5 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.

ICC/BASCAP release

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U.S. Business Welcomes OECD Report on Countefeiting and Piracy

New York, N.Y, June 4, 2007 – Representatives of America’s top global companies applauded today’s release of a landmark report from the 30-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the economic costs of counterfeiting and piracy.  Release of the report’s summary was timed to coincide with this week’s G8 summit in Germany, where the issue is on the agenda for leaders of the world’s leading economies.  The full report will be released this summer.

The United States Council for International Business welcomed the OECD report, “The Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy.”  The report includes new figures on the scope of international trade in fake goods, and concludes that the magnitude and effects of the problem are “of such significance that they compel strong and sustained action” from governments, business and consumers.  The report recommends increased enforcement of existing laws and tighter cooperation between governments and industry to make current policies more effective.

“Policy makers need to pay close attention to what the OECD is saying,” according to USCIB President Peter M. Robinson.  “Counterfeiting and piracy take a heavy toll on governments, businesses of all sizes and of course consumers.   It’s wholesale theft, by well organized criminal networks, that endangers consumer health and safety, harms the reputation of companies, cuts into tax revenues and discourages much-needed foreign investment.”

The OECD report says the flow of illicit cross-border trade in so-called “hard goods,” i.e., tangible counterfeit and pirated products, could be up to  $200 billion, a figure greater than the national GDP of some 150 countries.  But it concedes that this represents just the tip of the iceberg, since the OECD did not tally the cost of domestically produced and consumed counterfeit and pirated products, or the economic costs of online piracy.  The report concludes that, if these factors were included, “the magnitude could be several hundred billion dollars more.”

The report provides clear indications that product counterfeiting and piracy are growing – and affect virtually every country, industry and product category.  The OECD notes that, while governments are increasingly acknowledging the problem and putting laws and regulations in place, more effective enforcement is critical.

For the past several years, business representatives and others have been pushing the G8 to more forcefully address the growing tide of counterfeiting and piracy. Last week, a group of top executives from around the world wrote to G8 leaders under the umbrella of Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), an initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce, urging them to take bigger, bolder steps to beat back counterfeiting and piracy.

The private sector contributed data and analysis to the authors of the report, working through the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD, and it wants to see the OECD do more to assess the scope of the problem and explore solutions.

“The OECD report points out that these illegal activities have significant effects on governments, industry, consumers and society at large from lost innovation, creativity, investment, jobs and overall economic growth and development, especially in developing markets,” said Richard Johnson of the law firm Arnold & Porter, who chairs the BIAC counterfeiting task force.  “We support the OECD’s conclusion that more work is needed in this area, and we stand ready to help find ways to do this.  We hope the upcoming G8 summit will endorse the findings of the OECD report and its recommendations for future government actions.”

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 more than 300 leading U.S. companies, professional services firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $3.5 trillion.  As the exclusive American affiliate of three key global business groups – the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers, and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD – USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade.  More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contact:

Jonathan Huneke, VP communications, USCIB

+1 212.703.5043 (office), +1 917.420.0039 (mobile) or jhuneke@uscib.org

OECD Report on Counterfeiting and Piracy

BIAC website

BASCAP website

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At G8 Business Summit, USCIB Chairman Urges Governments to Avoid Investment Protectionism

Joint statement by business federation heads also presses for Doha Round’s completion

USCIB Chairman William G. Parrett (second from left) joined other top business chiefs at the first-ever G-8 Business Summit in Berlin (Photo: BDI).
USCIB Chairman William G. Parrett (second from left) joined other top business chiefs at the first-ever G-8 Business Summit in Berlin (Photo: BDI).

Berlin, April 25, 2007 – At today’s first-ever G-8 Business Summit, the chairman of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), William G. Parrett, also CEO of Deloitte, urged the leaders of the Group of Eight nations to maintain their commitment to the open flow of international investment across borders, realizing countries still need to address local issues such as national security.

“Governments need to take action at the highest level to avoid investment protectionism if we want to encourage the free flow and benefits of international investment,” said Mr. Parrett, who represented the United States in the G-8 business preparatory meeting, which was organized by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).  “They need to affirm, in word and practice, their commitment to open, cross-border investment.”

The Berlin summit brought together the heads of top business federations from Germany, which hosts this year’s G-8 leaders summit in Heiligendamm this June, and the other G-8 nations along with the trans-European business federation Business Europe.  The business leaders signed a joint G-8 Business Declaration that will be presented to the G-8 government leaders, urging completion of the WTO’s Doha Round “as a matter of urgency and top priority,” and proposing ways to address related trade and investment issues, innovation challenges such as intellectual property rights, and climate protection.  They were scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later today.

Investment protectionism has been on the rise both in the G-8 nations and elsewhere, and curtailing such measures was among the top priorities spelled out by the business leaders in a joint statement.  Mr. Parrett pointed to a number of recent measures that he said needlessly interfered with foreign mergers, acquisitions and greenfield investment under the guise of security concerns.

Mr. Parrett said business recognized that the world had changed dramatically since 9/11, and that governments must pay more attention to national security issues.  “But a legitimate concern for national security needs to be balanced against the benefits of allowing foreign investment,” he said.  “Blocking a foreign takeover for reasons of national security should be an extremely rare occurrence, and should be taken as a measure of last resort, only when all other rules or tools that are designed to protect national security are not adequate or effective.  Further, blocking international investment should not be used as a means to give unreasonable commercial advantage for domestic businesses.”

Mr. Parrett called upon the G-8 governments to support annual updates by the OECD of measures to restrict investment on grounds of national security, and the extension of this study to the issue of informal barriers to investment.  He urged that the business community be fully engaged in helping identify such informal barriers.

The business leaders focused on a number of other issues they said required attention by their governments at the Heiligendamm summit.  These included completion of the WTO’s Doha Round, fostering intellectual property rights, enhancing efficient capital markets, strengthening environmentally friendly technologies and facilitating private-sector participation in African development.

Peter M. Robinson, president of USCIB, who was also in Berlin, drew attention to the need for immediate action by the G-8 governments to protect intellectual property rights and stamp out product piracy.  “The issue has moved far beyond movies and music,” he said.  “Nowadays no industry, and no country, is immune from counterfeiting and piracy.  Government action is urgently needed at the highest levels to stamp out this scourge.”

The United States Council for International Business 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 more than 300 leading U.S. companies, professional services firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $3.5 trillion.  As the American affiliate of several leading global business groups, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade.  More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contacts:
Jonathan Huneke
, VP Communications, USCIB
Tel: +1 212 703 5043 or +1 917 420 0039 (mobile)
E-mail: jhuneke@uscib.org

Madonna Jarrett, Director, DTT Public Relations and CEO Communications
Tel: +1 212 492 3738 or +1 646 388 2335 (mobile)
Email: mjarrett@deloitte.com

G-8 Business Declaration: Joint Statement of the G-8 Business Organizations (PDF file, 1.8 MB)

More on USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee

More on USCIB’s Intellectual Property Committee

G-8 2007 Summit website

Federation of German Industries (BDI) website

Deloitte website

 

Global Survey More Enforcement Needed to Curb Counterfeiting

New BASCAP study ranks top – and bottom – ten countries for I.P. rights protection

The first annual BASCAP Global Survey on Counterfeiting and Piracy provides a snapshot of country and business efforts to stop the theft of intellectual property.
The first annual BASCAP Global Survey on Counterfeiting and Piracy provides a snapshot of country and business efforts to stop the theft of intellectual property.

Geneva and New York, January 29, 2007 – Global companies say more government enforcement is what is needed most to win the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, according to a new survey unveiled today by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The first annual BASCAP Global Survey on Counterfeiting and Piracy was conducted by ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative, in cooperation with the Cass Business School, part of City University, London.  The survey polled 48 companies, many of which operate globally, spanning 27 product categories.

The findings provide a snapshot of country and business efforts to stop the theft of intellectual property, which has become a substantial drain on business, and has led to the widespread loss of jobs and a massive reduction in tax revenues.

“Not only does unfair competition from counterfeiting and piracy worldwide drain billions annually from the ‘virtuous circle’ of economic growth that intellectual properly generates, but we are particularly concerned about the risks for consumers from unsafe counterfeit products,” said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman & CEO of Nestlé.  “We urge the assistance of governments to curb the proliferation of counterfeit products.”

ICC is the world business organization, the only representative body bringing the views of companies from every region and every sector to bear upon global policy matters.  The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), based in New York, serves as ICC’s American national committee.

Meeting today in Geneva under the umbrella of BASCAP, CEOs and senior corporate officials from four continents, including those from some of the world’s largest companies, discussed the survey results and announced a new plan to step up the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

When asked which area would yield the best results in curbing counterfeiting and piracy – legislation, public education or increased enforcement – survey respondents rated enforcement much higher than the other options.

“The survey shows a lot more work needs to be done on enforcement, said ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban.  “We need to educate policymakers that greater investments in IP enforcement will translate into more jobs and tax revenues, and also help them in the fight against organized crime.”

The survey ranked the best- and worst-performing countries in addressing counterfeiting and piracy. Companies rated the U.S., U.K., Germany and France, respectively, as exemplary.  Also among the best performers, in descending order, were Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Singapore and Australia.

On the other end of the spectrum, respondents named China and Russia, respectively, as the two worst-performing countries, followed by India, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine.

“The mention of these bottom-performing countries shows the problem is indeed worldwide and requires a global solution, said Mr. Sebban.  “Focusing on one or two problem areas is simply not enough.”

American executives at the BASCAP meeting echoed this sentiment.  “This issue needs to be moved up on the agenda of every business leader, every trade organization and every policymaker,” according to Bob Wright, CEO of NBC Universal.  “At risk is every sector of our economy where creativity, innovation and invention drive the creation of economic value and of high-wage jobs.”

Regarding business strategies to rein in fake products, respondents said they spent over half their investment on anti-piracy technologies and product differentiation. “The investment of around 50 percent of R&D in technologies to thwart copying indicates that companies are working hard to stay a step ahead of the pirates,” Mr. Sebban said.

Future surveys will examine the I.P. regimes of top-performing countries to identify best practices, flag problem areas and track progress.  An index will rank country performance.

About BASCAP

Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) was established by ICC in 2005 to connect all business sectors and cut across all national borders in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.  This global approach is designed to leverage individual company and organizational efforts and amplify business messages with national governments and intergovernmental organizations.  Through BASCAP, more than 150 companies and associations are now actively engaged in a set of projects designed to defeat the pirates and increase public and political awareness of the economic and social harm caused by this illegal activity.  More information is available at http://www.iccwbo.org/bascap/id1127/index.html.

About USCIB

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.

Contacts:

Dawn Chardonnal, communications manager, ICC

+33 1 49 53 29 07, dcl@iccwbo.org

Amy Lehr, media relations coordinator, USCIB

+1 212 703 5063, alehr@uscib.org

 

BASCAP Global Survey on Counterfeiting and Piracy

BASCAP website

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