Building Respect for IP: Cooperation with Partners

Since a wide range of actors influences international and national intellectual property (IP) policies in the area of building respect for IP, we maintain close relationships with numerous partner organizations.

Addressing the social and economic impact arising from the proliferation of IP infringing goods is a cross-cutting topic to which multiple organizations contribute. Our collaborations are motivated by the desire to ensure policy cohesion and achieve maximum impact through shared resources. Additionally, through our collaborations we aim to guide the debate on the protection and enforcement of IP rights to ensure it progresses in a balanced direction, combining prevention and enforcement.
We cooperate with our partners by organizing joint activities, providing advice on and engaging in partners’ activities, or soliciting partners’ participation in WIPO events. (Photo: 7th Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy)

Events

International Conference on Building Respect for Intellectual Property

Bringing together senior representatives from government and from private sector businesses, the Conference will allow participants to share experiences of IP stimulating innovation and driving development and growth. In addition, it will reaffirm the shared commitment to build respect for IP, by exchanging information on enhancing public awareness about the importance of respecting IP.

November 17-18, 2016. Shanghai, China.

Global Congress on Combatting Counterfeiting and Piracy

Convened by a public-private partnership, the Global Congress brings together high-level key players to pool their experience and thereby enhance international coordination and cooperation. The aim is to develop more effective solutions in pursuit of the common goal of building respect for IP and combating counterfeiting and piracy.

Participants typically include government officials, business leaders, senior law enforcement officials, judges and lawyers, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, consumer groups, and academics

Topics and issues

We cooperate with our partners on a wide range of topical issues of global relevance.

Counterfeit goods

Counterfeit goods impact most industries, ranging from luxury to consumer goods, affecting products as diverse as automotive replacement parts, electrical appliances and toys.  The socioeconomic effects of counterfeiting may go beyond the interests of IP owners and affect consumers and society at large.

For example, counterfeit medicines relate to the bigger problems of pharmaceutical crime and consumer health. The manufacture and trade of counterfeit medicines also involves the infringement of trademarks.

Through the unauthorized use of registered trademarks, the producers of counterfeit medicines falsely represent that their product is of the same make and quality as the genuine product manufactured by the trademark owner. While consumers may believe they are buying genuine medicine, in reality there is no connection between the product and the trademark owner.

There is also a high risk that counterfeit medicines do not meet the same pharmaceutical specifications and quality standards as the genuine product, and they may pose a serious threat to the health of unaware patients.

This paper looks at the specific legal meaning of “counterfeiting” and analyzes the ways in which balanced IP enforcement mechanisms can mitigate the risks posed by counterfeit medicines. It also outlines WIPO’s activities in this important area at the intersection of IP and public health.

(Photos: iStockphoto.com/Lisa5201/blacklenz/George Clerk/ttatty)

Roundtable

In 2011, recognizing the multi‑dimensional challenge in addressing counterfeit medicines and the multiplicity of actors involved, WIPO initiated the Multi-Stakeholder Roundtable on Technical Assistance Against Counterfeit Medicines. This annual event brings together intergovernmental and non-governmental international organizations active in providing technical assistance in the area of counterfeit medicines. In addition it serves as a forum for the exchange of information and perspectives, as well as discussion on practical areas of synergy and cooperation between participating organizations, which include INTERPOL, WCO, WHO and WTO.

The discussions at the Roundtable demonstrate that counterfeit medicines are a multi-faceted problem, which can only be tackled with the cooperation of all stakeholders. In this sense, the Roundtable has contributed significantly to the quality, effectiveness and balance of technical assistance on offer in this area. 

Awareness-raising

WIPO provides factual and unbiased information about the risks associated with counterfeit medicines that involve trademark infringement, as well as the mechanisms available to mitigate these risks.

An important part is raising awareness of the basic function of trademark law and the public interest objectives it seeks to achieve, as well as remedies for trademark infringement.

While the problem of counterfeit medicines is primarily a public health issue, the IP system can assist through trademark enforcement mechanisms and penalties. In this sense, an appropriately balanced system of IP enforcement can complement public health regulation.

IP and private international law

Thanks to globalization, ever-closer economic integration, and fast-moving digitization, challenges surrounding the interaction between IP and private international law are inevitably becoming ever more frequent and acute. Indeed IP infringements routinely impact on multiple territories, resulting in questions of jurisdiction, applicable law, and enforcement and recognition of foreign judgments.

IP rights are territorial. That means that protecting these rights takes place through national or regional legislation, and within defined territorial borders. Yet IP assets are of a global character and their usage is not limited by territorial boundaries.With the aim to contribute to forming a factual and practical overview of the approaches taken by courts in addressing the interaction of private international law and IP, WIPO collected information on court judgments addressing “private international law issues in online IP infringement with cross-border elements”. The data was analyzed and the resulting report is now available for download.

Environmentally-friendly disposal of IP-infringing goods

Every day customs authorities from around the globe detect and seize IP infringing products, such as counterfeit and pirated goods. Given the sheer volume of IP-infringing goods, the storage and disposal of infringing material poses significant logistical challenges.

As it is often unclear whether IP-infringing goods contain harmful or hazardous substances, the disposal of this material in a safe and environmentally-friendly way can be costly and require specialized facilities, expertise and collaboration with stakeholders.

Collaboration with UNEP

We organized workshops in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) that addressed the disposal of IP-infringing goods from both a legal and an environmental perspective.

The workshops were attended by participants from various member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and included representatives from customs, the police, the judiciary, environmental agencies as well as national IP offices.

  • Bangkok Workshop program PDF, Bangkok Workshop program