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Dubai Customs Announces First-Ever 24/7 Integrated Control System for Trade Security

dubai customs

Dubai Customs Announces First-Ever 24/7 Integrated Control System for Trade Security

Thanks to a unique blend of artificial intelligence, drones, a K9 unit, and a rapid intervention team, Dubai Customs has officially launched the first integrated control system in the world. This system has been termed as the “Siyaj (Fence) Initiative” and fully supports efforts against counterfeit trade shipments while progressing trade operations.

“We feel proud today that our borders are more secure and our trade is streamlined following the wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai,” said HE Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.

“This initiative is an embodiment of the team spirit and the honest efforts that everyone at Dubai Customs always strives to maintain. We hope this initiative adds up to our cumulative work in the field to maintain the leading position the UAE enjoys worldwide.”

The Siyaj initiative relies on regularly updated data to effectively deliver the level of security it was designed for. Among the features found within the Siyaj system include a vessel that tracks and controls ships prior to their arrival at the port,  inspection systems, and a set of cameras and devices for surveillance.

These features work in tandem with the rapid intervention teams for a faster, more reliable action turnaround time. The continued efforts further reiterate the success of Dubai Customs in halting counterfeit items and protecting the security of trade operations.

“Dubai Customs plays a vital role in thwarting smuggling of drugs and other illegitimate goods. In this regard, we cooperate and coordinate with the relevant authorities worldwide to intercept any suspicious or hazardous shipments before they enter the country.,” Director General of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih said.

“Customs authorities in the UAE made 4,450 customs seizures in 2019, and this initiative will cement the security efforts following the vision of Dubai Customs of becoming the leading customs organization worldwide supporting legitimate trade. We highly commend the efforts behind this leading initiative which will not only enhance the security of our borders but will also facilitate trade and supply chains.”

counterfeit goods

Dubai Customs Tackles Counterfeit Goods Issue with Sustainable Approach

Dubai Customs took piracy prevention and sustainable practices to a new level earlier this month when they recycled 1,906 counterfeit items including sports shoes, mobile headphones, and computers, according to a release from July 9th. This success represents one of many from Dubai Customs in addressing and putting a stop to the process of counterfeit goods in the region.

“The IPR Department works closely with different partners to curb counterfeiting in line with TRIPS agreement,” said Yousef Ozair Mubarak, Director of IPR Department. “The damage caused by counterfeit goods to the economy, environment, and even perhaps our overall quality of life should be something of a given for most people.”

“Perhaps Intellectual Property rights-holders are those most likely to feel the true pinch of this rogue industry, but when one considers the big picture it becomes clear that everyone is liable to be affected by counterfeiting and piracy,” he added.

Thanks to collaborative efforts between Color Code recycling company, CEO of Brand Owners’ Protection Group Malik Hanouf, and representatives from Air Cargo Centers Management, IPR Dispute Section, and External Relations Section, the items were successfully removed from further processing and used to support sustainable practices for the IPR Department at Dubai Customs.

“We take care of all information that helps us thwart all types of smuggling to protect our society from the hazards of illegitimate goods,” stated Shuaib Al Suwaidi, Director of Customs Intelligence Department. “Counterfeit goods are not welcome in Dubai and we work together with different partners to ensure they don’t enter the emirate.”

Photos provided by Dubai Customs

COUNTERFEIT

TRADE IN COUNTERFEIT MEDICAL AND PROTECTIVE HEALTH GOODS SPIKING DURING PANDEMIC

Making matters worse

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to alter lives around the world, predators have seen opportunities to exploit the global health crisis by marketing and shipping counterfeit medical equipment, devices, and pharmaceuticals. In the few months since the beginning of the pandemic, illicit trade in counterfeit medical goods is both widespread and global in nature.

Authorities in the UAE shut down two factories, finding 40,000 fake sanitizers that were actually body sprays. In Cambodia, authorities seized three tons of fake sanitizer and nearly 17,000 gallons of fake alcohol. Australia’s Border Force intercepted shipments of counterfeit and otherwise faulty personal protective equipment.

Playing whack-a-mole with counterfeit goods

EUROPOL has cautioned that fake blood-screening tests, sanitizers, and pharmaceutical products are increasing in volume in the EU as criminals take advantage of shortages of genuine medical products. EUROPOL is monitoring the trade in counterfeit and substandard products by “listening” to social media platforms, following conversations that mention fake products. The agency reports many new online platforms have cropped up in response to coronavirus to profit illegally from illicit trade in fake medical goods.

Enforcement activity has also ramped up in the United States in response to the significant increase in criminals attempting to capitalize on the pandemic. In mid-April, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Operation Stolen Promise, a joint effort by experts in global trade, financial fraud and cyber investigations to combat smuggling of counterfeit safety equipment and test kits. The operation quickly shut down over 11,000 COVID-19 domain names for illicit websites. After seizing test kits at an Indianapolis express consignment facility, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced it is “targeting imports and exports — mainly in the international mail and express consignment cargo environments — that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods”.

More data, better enforcement?

In early May, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations announced an unprecedented partnership with private sector companies including Amazon and Alibaba to combat price gougers and scammers online. But will the effort be sufficient? The pandemic has exposed how vulnerable consumers are and how difficult the challenges are for law enforcement, prompting new discussion of potential changes to data collection practices that will better safeguard consumers while aiding law enforcement. Policymakers are also considering ways to shift more burden to the private sector engaged in online sales and trade.

The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Online Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate on May 13. The sponsors noted that with the pandemic causing Americans to stay home, online commercial activity has increased, but that products sold online are not sufficiently transparent. The COOL Online Act would require that buyers of products sold online be told the country where the product was manufactured and where the seller is located.

CBP is currently conducting the 321 E-Commerce Data Pilot which requires private sector participants in the pilot program to transmit a significant amount of data to CBP regarding products shipped to the United States. What is yet unclear is whether companies in the supply chain and e-commerce ecosystems will be required to verify that the information submitted to CBP is accurate and whether they will be required to take the step of rejecting products or packages before facilitating shipment to the United States.

Such a requirement obligates private sector entities to take some measure to screen and prevent the export of non-compliant or suspect goods before they leave the country of export. Absent such an obligation, most, if not all, of the burden will remain on CBP – and its counterparts around the world – to protect public safety.

Countering the counterfeiters

Medical communities around the world are still grappling with a virus that has no known cure while law enforcement agencies work to combat the growing volume of counterfeit and substandard medical equipment and pharmaceutical goods marketed by criminals. Meanwhile, international crime watchdog INTERPOL has ominously issued a warning that it expects global markets to be flooded with fake pharmaceuticals as soon as a vaccine does become available.

The policy landscape continues to shift in various ways in the wake of this health crisis. Governments are actively engaging with the private sector regarding potential changes to the collection and sharing of data — and, how both should act on that data — to more effectively prevent counterfeit and illicit goods from even leaving the country of origin in the first place.

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Tim Trainer

Tim Trainer was an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. He is a past president of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. Tim is now the principal at Global Intellectual Property Strategy Center, P.C., and Galaxy Systems, Inc.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.
online

PREVENTING TRADE IN ONLINE FAKES

Online Buyer Beware

U.S. consumers spent over $600 billion dollars with U.S. merchants online in 2019. For consumers, online shopping is enticing for its convenience. With credit card in hand, shoppers can easily compare prices, make a purchase, and have the products shipped directly to their homes. The ability to sell online has transformed the ways in which manufacturers, shippers and retailers conduct business.

The evolution from brick and mortar to online stores has also made it more convenient for illegitimate businesses and criminals to pass off counterfeit products, which has attracted the attention of the U.S. government. Since November 2019, a flurry of government activity has focused on protecting consumers in the e-commerce environment.

Trade in fake goods 3.3 percent of world trade

Political Hue and Cry

The Senate Finance Committee examined online counterfeit goods last November when it issued a bipartisan report highlighting two key fact findings: U.S. businesses have difficulties preventing the sale of counterfeit goods online, and e-commerce platforms have no affirmative obligation to police counterfeit goods listings or to proactively remove suspected counterfeit items.

In January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a report titled Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, in which DHS found that e-commerce has contributed to a shift in the sale of counterfeit goods in the United States. As consumers increasingly purchase goods online, counterfeiters are increasingly producing a wider variety of goods that may be sold on websites alongside authentic products. The report adds that American consumers shopping on e-commerce platforms and online third-party marketplaces now face a significant risk of purchasing counterfeit or pirated goods.

A week after the release of the DHS report, the White House issued an Executive Order “Ensuring Safe and Lawful E-Commerce for U.S. Consumers, Businesses, Government Supply Chains, and Intellectual Property Rights Holders”. The Order implicates express carriers and the international postal system as contributing to the problem of imports of contraband and counterfeit goods.

American brands 24 percent of fake products seized

House Bill 6058, the SHOP SAFE Act of 2020, was introduced in early March in the House of Representatives. The bill proposes to impose contributory trademark infringement liability on e-commerce platforms unless they take steps specified in the legislation. The legislation received immediate support from several prominent industry associations.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association’s CEO stated that “more needs to be done to prevent counterfeit products from unknowingly entering the homes of American families.” In support of the bill, the CEO of the Personal Care Products Council stated that “counterfeit personal care products damage businesses, disregard regulatory protection and more importantly threaten consumers’ health and safety,” adding the Council encourages “Congress to establish a system that makes online marketplaces and others responsible for ensuring that products on their platforms comply with U.S. laws and regulations”.

Two days later, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) stated that the convenience of e-commerce “has come at a devastating price: a proliferation of dangerous counterfeit goods that endanger consumers and property, and an army of counterfeit merchants from overseas that undermine American small businesses with unscrupulous tactics.”

Counterfeit medicines

Hiding on Plain Sites

In general, the owners of intellectual property (copyrights, trademarks, patents) have had a lot to say about the online platforms and marketplaces that host e-commerce. As summarized in the Senate Finance Committee’s report, e-commerce platforms place the burden of policing and enforcing intellectual property (IP) on the IP owners, suggesting they do not have a duty to police counterfeit listings or proactively remove suspected counterfeit goods from platforms.

The proposed SHOP SAFE Act of 2020 would place a greater burden on platforms. By taking steps outlined in the legislation, platforms would be able to avoid liability for IP violations.

During the week the SHOP SAFE Act was introduced and a hearing held to address the issue of e-commerce threats to consumers and the economy, a technology company, PreClear, announced it is using “technology that pushes out the border and prevents infringing goods and potentially harmful goods from being exported to the U.S.” PreClear’s founder is quoted as saying that the technology is in use 24/7 and rejects thousands of non-compliant items daily.

There is no doubt that the sheer volume of infringing and other non-compliant merchandise available to consumers on the internet begs for a solution. The question is whether protection and enforcement begin after the items are in the stream of commerce in the United States or before the items ship to the United States. One of the missing variables in the trade policy equation remains how to prevent infringing items from leaving the country of origin in the first instance.

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Tim Trainer was an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. He is a past president of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. Tim is now the principal at Global Intellectual Property Strategy Center, P.C., and Galaxy Systems, Inc.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

Report Shows Counterfeit Trade Increase in 2019

A report released by OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office confirmed that counterfeit and pirated goods in trade reached 3.3 percent this year. With the majority of the counterfeit goods being picked up in China and Hong Kong, the spotlight is focused on concerns surrounding consumer health and safety with fake goods such as medical supplies, car parts, toys, food and cosmetics brands and electrical goods.

Excluding domestic produced and consumed fake goods, the customs data seizure reports state the overall value of global fake goods at $509 billion, with the European Union representing 6.8 percent of counterfeit trade from non EU countries. Items such as footwear, clothing, leather goods, electrical equipment, watches, medical equipment, perfumes, toys, jewelry and pharmaceuticals were the top goods that made the list.

“Counterfeit trade takes away revenues from firms and governments and feeds other criminal activities. It can also jeopardize consumers’ health and safety,” said OECD Public Governance Director Marcos Bonturi, launching the report with the Director of the EU Observatory on IPR infringements at the EUIPO, Paul Maier, and the EU Ambassador to the OECD Rupert Schlegelmilch. “Counterfeiters thrive where there is poor governance. It is vital that we do more to protect intellectual property and address corruption.”

Other countries impacted the most in 2016 include the United States, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.

To read the full report, please visit: OECD.org

Anti-Counterfeit Efforts Finally Go Global

Washington, DC – It’s no longer just the US and the European Union that are concerned with the festering issue of counterfeit products, say Michael Czinkota and Ilkka Ronkainen of Georgetown University.

“Globally, companies reportedly lose a total of $657 billion every year because of product counterfeiting and other infringement on intellectual property,” they say. “Today’s key problems are with high-visibility and strong brand name consumer goods.”

Intellectual property enforcement “ensures that new ideas can blossom into economic opportunity,” they’ve written in a recently published paper addressing the topic of counterfeit goods.

“Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) have become a core issue in the global economic debate. No longer confined to cheap knockoffs of luxury goods, IP theft is placing industry and the public at risk of highly adverse economic, safety, and health consequences,” they added.

Earlier, the only concern was whether a company’s product was being counterfeited; now, the raw materials and components purchased for production may be counterfeited.  In general, countries with lower per capita incomes, higher levels of corruption in government, and lower levels of involvement in international trade tend to have more intellectual property violations.

Ronkainen teaches marketing and international business at Georgetown University, while Czinkota researches international business and policy issues at the school.

According to the writers, China, long seen as the focal production point of global counterfeiting operations, has taken significant steps to counter what has plagued the country’s e-commerce market particularly hard.

Alibaba “spends more than $16 million yearly fighting counterfeit goods,” they say. Another example is “Hong Kong’s commitment to the protection” of intellectual property.

“With the goal of enhancing consumer confidence in Hong Kong, and to strengthen the city’s reputation as a ‘Shopping Paradise’ for genuine products, the Intellectual Property Department has launched the ‘No Fakes Pledge’ scheme,” Czinkota and Ronkainen said.

The issuing bodies of the scheme are the Hong Kong & Kowloon Electrical Appliances Merchants’ Association Limited and the Hong Kong Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries.

“The international marketer must act to enforce intellectual property rights.  No industry or country is immune from infringement, nor can they address the threat alone. There is also need for better education regarding the risks IPR violations pose and how to defend against them,” they said.

For example, the pharmaceutical industry lobbied to make sure that provisions for patent protection in the NAFTA agreement were meticulously spelled out.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers (PhRMA) addressed the issue of international IP protection by responding to the Special 301 Report issued by the US Trade Representative in May 2012.

The PhRMA statement cited the need for IP protections in spurring innovation, research and development, as well as the need for fair international market conditions to ensure that patients have access to medications.

One research firm estimated the global market for counterfeit pharmaceuticals to generate revenues between $75 billion and $200 billion a year.

The Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), a trade association created to address illegal pharmaceutical incidents, collects data on the number of counterfeiting, illegal diversion, and theft incidents. These incidents increased seventy-eight percent from 2005 to 2009.

Pfizer reports that between 2004 and 2010 it seized more than 62 million doses of counterfeit medicines worldwide.  More than 200 million counterfeit Eli Lilly medicines have been seized in 800 raids around the world.

“A number of other governments are drafting similar policies, which have served as a catalyst for enhancing protection in both the public and private sectors in those nations,” said Czinkota and Ronkainen.

Efforts to protect intellectual property, and modernize the patent and trademark system are crucial, they added.

“The power of creativity and innovation applied to the solving of practical problems is not the exclusive province of any country or people. A victory over fakes and counterfeits will protect the quality and reliability of products and services, and lets customers be more informed and secure in their usage decisions.”

10/21/2014

Tips On Stemming the Flood Of Counterfeit Goods

Los Angeles, CA – Despite significant government efforts, China remains the world’s primary source of counterfeit goods, constituting 84 percent of shipment seizures in the US in 2012.

Experts, in fact, predict that the online trade of counterfeit goods in China will surpass the physical trade of such goods in the next two to three years.

The problem seems too vast and overwhelming to surmount, however, says Bob Youill, senior managing director in the Global Risk and Investigations practice of New York-based FTI Consulting, “doing so will never be easy, but it can be done” if companies take the appropriate steps.

In an article published this week in the FTI Journal, Youill, an acknowledged authority on product piracy, makes several suggestions on what US-based exporters, importers, retailers and manufacturers can do to stop the production, distribution and sale of counterfeit goods.

First, he says, declare your intellectual property. An effective anti-counterfeiting strategy for China, he says, “begins with begins with registering the relevant intellectual property rights in China, as Beijing doesn’t automatically recognize IP rights registered overseas.”

That done, writes Youill, “quantify the risk to your brand with in-house counsel working directly with key stakeholders to review the company’s markets inside and outside China and organize those markets into those that must be protected and those that are less important to focus on.”

Next, it needs to be understood that the primary responsibility for managing counterfeiting will rest mostly with in-house counsel and will involve representatives from different corporate functions, including a PR lead, external consultants, and internal stakeholders. To achieve that goal, “build your anti-counterfeit team.”

When considering tackling organized counterfeiting operations, a “best course of action” should be strategized that carefully analyzes various tactics that could include ‘street sweeps,’ Customs watches, administrative action, and civil or criminal proceedings.

Lastly, says Youill, “There are a number of risks to manage when dealing with Chinese authorities, such as controlling sensitive corporate information, fulfilling government requests for documents, overseeing internal reporting and complying with reporting rules. So, learn how to work with them.”

08/15/2014