On June 8, 2022 the World Anti-Counterfeiting Day is in its 24th year. It was established by the GACG Network and in 2012 a similar INTA’ campaign was launched.
Ukraine joined this public awareness movement in Spring 2012 by launching the continuous awareness-raising campaign “Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti-Piracy Days in Ukraine” at the initiative of Ukraine Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (UAACP) and with the support of government authorities and organizations comprising the state IPR protection system, State Customs Service of Ukraine, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Ukrainian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce, Pakharenko and Partners IP and Law Firm.
Campaign’s goals include promoting respect for intellectual property rights, formation of a rational consumption model and raising awareness of Ukrainians about the risks and consequences of purchasing counterfeit goods.
Ukraine is currently facing russia’s military aggression full of violence and bloodshed, where devastation and cruelty are taking place every day. Nevertheless, the fight against counterfeiting has not only retained its relevance for our country, but gained additional economic and social importance since counterfeiting is not just a matter of morality and infringement of intellectual property rights, but it is a crime that generates rapid cash flows that are not controlled by the government and are likely to be used by the enemy to finance war crimes against our state!
A joint studies on the scale and threats posed by counterfeiting prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) released in 2019 and 2022 found that annual trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is worth $ 500 billion representing more than 3% of global trade! All counterfeit goods can pose different levels of threats to consumers. The most popular ones are perfumes, cosmetics, clothing, toys, car parts and medicines. The largest exporters of dangerous counterfeits to the EU (3/4 of the volume of seized goods) are China and Hong Kong. The goods are mainly shipped by postal services, while sea is the dominant transport mode in terms of seized value.
All goods currently produced worldwide contain intellectual property items and are protected by intellectual property law. Counterfeiting products involve infringements of intellectual property rights, which carry increased socio-economic risks (compared to other IPR infringements), as they are:
products of unknown origin and quality,
production and distribution of which was adopted by organized crime,
enormous profits from sales are used for financing other crimes (such as human, arms and drugs trafficking), which in the context of martial law in Ukraine is a critical threat to our country,
“quick money” received from the sale of counterfeit products during the war in Ukraine can most likely be used to arm and support the enemy.
Our consumption during the war should be more conscious than ever, so each of us should ask ourselves when buying goods: “If there is a possibility that my money spent on this product will be used by criminals to buy bullets that will kill our soldiers on the front line, then do I really need to buy this product?” The answer for Ukrainians is obvious!
However, in order avoid buying counterfeits, the original goods must be available on the consumer market. Unfortunately, at the moment, during the war, this is a big problem for our country, because the market is filled with various counterfeits and even if we want to buy an original product, we sometimes do not have such an opportunity.
The only effective mechanism to influence the counterfeit market is to create conditions under which the manufacture and sale of counterfeits becomes unattractive and unprofitable for infringers. What can be done to reduce this problem and give consumers a possibility to choose between an original product and a counterfeit one? Implement the following measures:
Do we really need to protect IP rights at the customs border during the war? The answer is simple – YES! The reason for this is Ukraine’s international obligations to join the EU and the vital need to protect Ukraine’s economic interests, because a state that does not protect intellectual property rights, in fact, supports shadow business (its inaction causes damages to legitimate businesses that pay taxes), finances organized crime and war criminals, and, in the Ukrainian reality, helps the enemy.
That is why, on June 15, 2022, the UAACP and the Department of Specialized Training and Cynological Support of the State Customs Service,continuing their long-term cooperation, will hold a joint educational online event for customs officers of the State Customs Service of Ukraine, dedicated to the protection of IP rights at the customs border during the martial law. Such measures, according to the right holders, contribute, inter alia, to maintaining the high efficiency of the work of customs authorities to protect IP rights. In addition to the educational purpose, during the event the current issues of customs work towards assisting in protection of IP rights during martial law will be discussed. The outcomes of the event will be highlighted in our future publications.
Undoubtedly, with the joint efforts of customs, law enforcement, expert, judicial authorities, rights holders, and the whole society, Ukraine should say a resounding NO to counterfeiting and make combating counterfeits a priority for the sake of our victory over the enemy!
Glory to Ukraine!
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