WTO – Trade in Knowledge

The WTO has launched a new book entitled “Trade in Knowledge: Intellectual Property, Trade and Development in a Transformed Global Economy” on 31 March. At the launch event, a wide cross-section of contributors to the publication discussed how their research and analysis had a bearing on current issues lying at the intersection of development, trade, technology and the diffusion of knowledge.

Drawing together insights from a diverse range of leading international scholars and analysts, the publication explores how to build more inclusive, up-to-date and precise ways of measuring knowledge flows, discusses how more nuanced and effective use of these data may guide policymakers and provides insights into the prospects for knowledge-based social and economic development, moving legacy models and adapting to the realities of the contemporary knowledge economy. The book also proposes ideas for updated systems of governance that promote positive sum approaches to the creation and sharing of the benefits of knowledge as a public good, with a view to informing planning for development.

The book’s table of contents is available here.

Source: World Trade Organisation

Drop in fake goods seized by EU Customs

Fake goods being destroyed

Fake goods being destroyed

Customs in the European Union (EU) detained almost 40 million products in 2012, suspected of violating intellectual property rights (IPR), with an original goods retail value of just under €1 billion, according to an annual report published by the European Commission.

The previous year, close to 115 million ’fake’ items had been seized, worth more than €1.27 billion. However, the number of recorded cases for detained goods last year was down only slightly on 2011.
This is thought to be due to the strong growth in small shipments of counterfeit merchandise ordered via the Internet.

Globally, 30% of the goods seized were cigarettes followed by a miscellany of goods (11%), packaging materials (9%), clothing (8%), toys (4%) and perfumes and cosmetics (3%). The vast majority were destroyed.

In terms of the number of cases, most of the detained goods had been shipped by air, post and express, whereas maritime container transport was the main mode for the number of articles seized.

In over 92% of all cases, Customs action was triggered whilst the goods concerned were under an import procedure.

“Customs is the EU’s first line of defence against fake products which undermine legal businesses,” said Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud and Audit.

He stressed that the annual report illustrated “the intensity and importance of the work being done by Customs in this field. I will continue to push for even greater protection of intellectual property rights in Europe, through our work with international partners, the industry and Member States.”

China was by far the principal origin of the fake goods. However, other countries were the primary source for specific product categories. For example, Morocco for foodstuffs, Hong Kong for CD/DVDs and tobacco product accessories (electronic cigarettes and the liquid fillings for them), and Bulgaria for packaging materials. Source: EU Commission

Counterfeit luxury products not simply a question of trademark infringement

stock-photo-intellectual-property-and-related-words-in-word-collage-100324247Smart, Biggar, and Fetherstonhaugh, a Canadian law firm practising exclusively in intellectual property and technology law, advises that deterring counterfeiters is particularly important to luxury brand owners. For this reason, they should always keep in mind that augmented damage awards may be available when seeking concurrent relief for copyright infringement as well as trademark infringement. Similarly, brand owners in copyright industries should keep this in mind and consideration should be given to seeking both copyright and trademark relief in all counterfeiting and pirating scenarios in Canada. Considering the question from the point of view of luxury brand owners exemplifies the point.

Copyright aims to protect against the unauthorised reproduction of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Logos and designs or patterns used by luxury brands may constitute artistic works in which copyright subsists in Canada. Further, in the case of a counterfeit item, such works are clearly reproduced without the consent of the copyright holder.

Smart & Biggar states that even though trademark and copyright law each protect different interests, they are not mutually exclusive and in many cases the sale and distribution of a counterfeit product or a pirated copyright work may constitute both trademark and copyright infringement. In such circumstances, they recommend brand owners to be mindful of the possibility of claiming both trademark infringement and copyright infringement not only to maximise their damages but, ultimately, to have an increased deterrent effect on counterfeiters [in Canada]. Source: Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh