WIPO to Host Global Anti Counterfeiting and Piracy Meeting
January 19, 2007
Top government officials, business leaders, and consumer groups will address the far-reaching and devastating impact of counterfeiting and piracy at a meeting in Geneva on January 30 and 31, 2007 hosted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Third Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy (http://www.ccapcongress.net), a partnership between public and private sector organizations, is being convened by WIPO, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), under the banner "Shared Challenges-Common Goals." The Congress is held with the support and cooperation of the Global Business Leaders Alliance Against Counterfeiting (GBLAAC), the International Trademark Association (INTA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and the International Security Management Association (ISMA).
The economic costs of counterfeiting and piracy are thought to exceed 100 billion US dollars per year, even by conservative estimates. Today, almost every product on the market is a target of counterfeiting and piracy, endangering human health and safety and undermining economic development. The staggering economic costs of counterfeiting and piracy have a deep impact on the economy as a whole as they translate into lost earnings, lost jobs and lost tax revenues.
The expansion of the illegal trade in fake foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals is cause for great concern. In Europe alone in 2006, of the 75 million counterfeit and pirated articles seized at the borders of the European Union, more than 5 million were counterfeit foodstuffs and drinks and some 500,000 were fake pharmaceuticals, according to European Commission statistics. Expansion of the illegal sale of fake pharmaceuticals is of particular concern. In this regard, patients in developing countries are particularly vulnerable as the most counterfeited medicines are those used to treat life-threatening conditions such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Although the illicit nature of the trade make it difficult to obtain exact figures, estimates put counterfeits at more than 10% of the global medicines market and according to the WHO, an estimated 25% of the medicines consumed in developing countries are believed to be counterfeit.
The Global Congress provides a key international forum for shaping practical strategies to meet the shared challenges presented by the expanding global trade in counterfeit and pirated products. It will be opened by the Director General of WIPO, Dr. Kamil Idris, and the Federal Councilor of Switzerland in charge of Justice and Police, Mr. Christoph Blocher. Keynote statements will also be made by the heads of the convening organizations - Mr. Michel Danet, WCO Secretary General, Mr. Ronald Noble, Interpol Secretary General, Mr. Guy Sebban, ICC Secretary General, Mrs. Dee Ann Weldon-Winston, President of INTA, as well as top government officials, and key business leaders.
Senior government officials include Mr. Xiong Xuanguo, Vice-President of the People’s Supreme Court, China, Mr. Datuk Hj. Mohd Shafie bin Hj. Apdal, Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs, Malaysia, Mr. Mohamed Nabil Ben Adballah, Minister of Communication, Morocco, Mrs. Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister for Economy and Commerce, United Arab Emirates, Dr. Bernd Pfaffenbach, Secretary of State, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Germany, Mr. Serik Nugmanov, Vice-Minister for Justice, Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Amos Wako, Attorney General, Republic of Kenya, Honorable Justice L.T. Harms, Judge, Supreme Court of Appeal, South Africa, Mr. Chris Israel, International Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Coordinator, Department of Commerce, USA and Mr. Thierry Stoll, Deputy Director General for Internal Market and Services, European Commission.
Top business leaders include Mr. Bob Wright, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NBC Universal, and senior representatives from Daimler Chrysler, Eli Lilly, Microsoft, Pfizer, Unilever, and Universal Music Group. Among the other participants are policy-makers, senior law enforcement officials, judges, stakeholders from non-governmental organizations and industry groups. A list of speakers is available at http://www.ccapcongress.net/program/speakers.htm.
The first Global Congress was held in Brussels in 2004 which is home to the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Second Global Congress in 2005 was held in Lyon where Interpol is headquartered. The meetings have provided a valuable forum for representatives from both the public and private sectors to pool their experience, raise awareness, enhance cooperation and identify strategies to deal more effectively with the global problem of counterfeiting and piracy. An estimated 500 participants are expected to attend the meeting.
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