The recent UNIFAB report
Counterfeiting & Terrorism set the tone of the debates
21eme Forum Européen de la Propriété
Intellectuelle, which took place in Paris on February 12
The Union des Fabricants : Pour la protection internationale
de la propriété intellectuelle (UNIFAB) is
a central actor in the fight against counterfeits advocating on
behalf of the private sector before French and European
authorities, agencies and institutions.
Broadly speaking, the Report proposed 10 recommendations to
be incorporated in legal frameworks, including:
Harmonisation of criminal offences in Europe and alignment of
criminal sanctions with international standards.
Condemnation of counterfeiting as a means of financing
Specialisation of judges in criminal courts.
Enforcement of a "duty of care" on internet actors.
Implementation of accountability rules for all actors in
agreements/procedures applicable to trade shows and salons.
Creation of civil actions for industry associations,
establishment of zero tolerance areas, as well as improvement
of innovations tools.
Development of anti-counterfeiting cooperation actions in
international meetings and sensitive countries.
Implementation of imprisonment and monetary penalties committed
by organised crime groups in all countries, and autonomous
infringement with increased penalties for counterfeits
affecting human health and safety.
Enhancement in the exchange of information between agencies and
addition of counterfeit indicators to policy making
Implementation of awareness initiatives before schools and
During the session "The Proven Links with Organised
Criminality and Terrorism" Senator Richard Yung, Member of the
French Labor Party and
President of the Comite National
Anti-Contrefaçon (CNAC) briefly expressed his views
on the 10 recommendations.
In respect of an increase of French legislation and
specialisation of judges, Senator Yung inferred there are no
needs for legal and judiciary modifications. Concerning the
French Bill on the financing of terrorism – Projet
de loi de lutte contre le terrorisme et son financement
– there will be provisions regulating Customs and
counterfeit provisions can be endorsed. On cybercrime, he
proposed the follow-the-money approach. Additionally, he agreed
that international and European partnerships are the way to go
from now on.
Hélène Crocquevieille, General Director for
Customs and Excise in France, highlighted that:
Recent results from the Customs demonstrate, like the
Report of UNIFAB, [it] exists some links between counterfeit
trafficking, organised crime and radicalised people who can
commit terrorist attacks. The links, however, must be
approached with caution: only the investigation following a
terrorist act or a criminal conspiracy from a terrorist
enterprise, carried out by specialised services such as the
Service National de
Douane Judiciaire (SNDJ), can validate these links with
certainty. Furthermore, so far, there is no evidence that
counterfeit trafficking would be a more specific means for
financing terrorist acts than other illicit traffics such as
tobacco, drugs or protected species.
She also said:
Pending the results of intelligence services analysis and
current investigations, the French Customs continue their
action in the fight against counterfeiting in order to
protect consumers, as well as licit economy, and to increase
the possibilities to dismantle criminal activities in our
country. In particular, the Customs administration will
accelerate the establishment of an inter-ministerial
structure in order to strengthen the national strategy and
action against counterfeit. French Customs will also act for
a rapid implementation of the EU trade marks package that
will allow a more efficient fight against transnational
Magda Voltolini is an independent writer based in