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Huge rise in haul of
 counterfeit products

Ahmed Shaaban / 11 March 2011

Dubai Customs saw a significant rise in the number of items seized for infringing on the intellectual property rights (IPR) in 2010, according to a senior official.

Yousuf Ozair Mubarek, Senior Manger of Intellectual Property Rights Department in Dubai Customs, told Khaleej Times that 689 hauls linked to IPR infringement worth Dh32 million were seized last year against 393 hauls worth Dh25 million in 2009. “The rise in the number of hauls by 296 was basically attributed to the growing vigilance of Dubai Customs inspectors who go through regular, intensive and sophisticated training courses,” said Mubarek.

“This training has enabled them to competently spot fake products.”

More helpful were the extensive information, details and tip-offs collected from and exchanged with partners and trademark owners locally and worldwide. “The cultural programmes launched have also developed an awareness among all segments of society,” Mubarek added.

Meanwhile, the IPR seizures included products that are easy to counterfeit and sell. “Most of the forged items seized in 2010 were medicines, clothes, bags, glasses, watches, shoes, cell phones, auto spare parts, and electronics,” he said. According to Mubarek, most of the fake products that were seized came from South Asian countries. “Some of them were imported for the local market in the UAE while others were meant for re-export.”

Last year, Dubai Customs managed to thwart three huge bids to smuggle seven million counterfeit pills and 1.5 million packs of personal care products, apart from 48,166 pirated video games worth Dh4.8 million.

“According to recent statistics released by the international chamber of commerce, the global economy incurs an annual loss of around $600 billion (due to counterfeiting),” he said.

Mubarek noted that trademarks registration and protection law, copyrights law, as well as a federal law for combating fraud in commercial transactions are some of the regulations adopted here to protect intellectual property rights. “Trademark owners are advised to register their trademarks at the bodies concerned to avoid manipulation and loss.”

Dubai Customs is all geared up to launch an e-gate for protecting intellectual property rights in the first quarter of 2011, he said.

The project is aimed at developing awareness of intellectual property rights, protecting the national economy, customers, investors and traders, and boosting legal trade for the benefit of society. “The online portal to be open to the public would feature detailed information on the intellectual property rights, as well as the relevant local, regional and international laws. Statistics on the IPR violations and seizures foiled by every participant ministry, authority and department will also be displayed.”


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