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Global Anti-Counterfeiting Award winners 2017

Awards co-sponsored by the GACG Network and Managing IP were presented at a World Anti-Counterfeiting Day ceremony in Paris, Kingsley Egbuonu reports

The ceremony was hosted by Union des Fabricants (UNIFAB) at the premises of the Museum of Counterfeiting in Paris on June 7. The theme of the ceremony was counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industry. The newly-elected Director General of the French IP Office Romain Soubeyran was among the guest speakers and more than 100 attendees. During the ceremony some of the winners of the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Awards (GACA) were presented with their trophies. 

The GACA is an initiative of the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group Network (GACG) to recognise outstanding achievements by organisations and individuals in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy worldwide. The GACA is now in its 19th year and Managing Intellectual Property is proud to be co-sponsoring it again. The awards are open to nominations from anyone with an interest in brand protection, anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy, particularly in the international context. The nominations are vetted and judged by a panel from Managing Intellectual Property, the GACG, and representatives of previous award winners.

The eight winners this year represent a broad spectrum of anti-counterfeiting and IPR enforcement activities from the continuing success of national customs services to the growing importance of international co-operation to combat IP-related crime. John Anderson, Chairman of the GACG, said: “The awards this year again highlight the wide range of co-operation that is needed – and provided – by different organisations and individuals and especially across the public/private sector divide, in the campaign against the international trade in fakes. I am especially impressed once again with the emphases on both co-ordination between the public and private sectors and the importance of raising public awareness that was evident in many of the nominations.”


This year’s winners

Individual Achievement: Lasse Ryyttari
Ryyttarihas been involved with anti-counterfeiting work at the Finnish Customs since 2001 and has been one of the driving forces in developing strong co-operation between customs officials and the intellectual property community in Finland.  He has organised very many seminars and meetings on behalf of Finnish Customs especially with the Finnish Anti-Counterfeiting Group and with the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre. He is also very active in international co-operation and has been involved in many activities with other customs services especially the neighbouring territories in Scandinavia and around the Baltic Sea. The FACG consider Mr Ryyttari to be ‘The Godfather of the Finnish Anti-Counterfeiting Community’ and well deserved of an individual achievement award for a lifetime of service.

National Public Body Award: Dwana ta’ Malta (Malta Customs)
Although being the smallest member state of the European Union, Malta is a key player when it comes to the fight against the trade in counterfeit products. For example, in 2014 Malta Customs detained the second highest number of fake articles in the EU and in 2015 they seized more than 1.2 million articles. The work of Malta Customs was central to the crackdown on fake goods transiting EU territories, and representatives of Malta Customs have for many years been active in international organisations dealing with IP infringements – most recently and most successfully as a public sector stakeholder in the EU Observatory on Infringements of IPRs.

National Public Body (Local Authority): Shanghai People’s Procuratorate
In 2012 the Shanghai Municipal Procuratorate set up a financial and IP department, the first of its kind in China, which brought together the two traditional functions of the procuratorate: inspection and supervision, and public prosecution. This change significantly increased the efficiency of IP crime prosecutors. In particular, it improved the transparency of public prosecution against IP crimes and supported IPR owners to participate in criminal proceedings; it strengthened public awareness of respecting IP by publishing a white paper on IP crimes and model IP crime cases; it initiated the ‘Shanghai People’s Procuratorate online platform for IP protection’; and it strengthened collaboration with IP owners with an open-minded attitude.

International Public Body Award: European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
Although initially set up to investigate fraud in the EU accounts and budgeting system, OLAF has gradually taken on responsibility for investigating all forms of financial fraud and has been very successful recently in cases concerningcounterfeiting and piracy.  The ‘Office de la Lutte Anti-Fraud’ has recently investigated cases involving millions of counterfeit goods including pharmaceuticals, auto spare parts and pesticides. Following investigations into trade in fake FMCG products such as shampoo and washing powder, illegal factories have been dismantled. OLAF is noted for its co-operation with EUROPOL, EU member states and associate states, and importantly with brand owners.

Company Award: Royal Philips  
The Royal Philips brand protection team has achieved considerable success recently especially with regard to online defence of the main brand Philips; defence of trade marks in China and company names in Hong Kong. The brand protection team leads the activities developing interdisciplinary insights to combat all forms of copying and goodwill identity theft – most recently focusing on their design registration base. In the same context they developed new initiatives to defend the brand in Africa and worldwide including a better customs recordation system. The team has worked closely, and for many years at the heart of the international campaign against the trade in fakes, with private sector groups such as AIM, REACT and QBPC and with international government organisations such as the WCO. The team has also been at the forefront of the development appropriate product security technologies.

Association Award: UNIFAB
The Union des Fabricants (Pour La Protection Internationale de la Properiete Intellectuelle) was founded in 1877 and has been a ceaseless campaigner for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in France and throughout the world. On behalf of the 300 company members of UNIFAB and in collaboration with other like-minded groups and associations, the Union has been at the centre of nearly all significant developments in legislation, law enforcement and public awareness for many years. Most recently it was noted for a ‘brilliant’ report on Counterfeiting and Terrorism – a vehicle for much successful government lobbying and justification for increased resources for law enforcement. UNIFAB is a founder member of the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group and plays a leading role in its activities.

Media Award: Authenticity Project (ANDEMA, INDICAM and UNIFAB)
The three leading GACG members have put into practice a complex project to create a network of ‘authentic cities’, that is to say cities that strongly believe in the need to protect commerce and trade marks from the unfair competition that constitutes the trade in fakes. The project was supported directly by the EUIPO as part of the public awareness initiatives of the EU Observatory on Infringements of IPRs to create awareness about the role that cities play in defending intellectual property rights – as public administrations that are closest to citizens. The groups are now looking to extend the project to other cities in Europe and internationally.

Technology Award: The PSA Group
The PSA Groupin partnership with Tesa Scribos set up an efficient anti-counterfeiting programme in 2016 notably with the initiation of a new authentication system for its spare parts. In view of the reality that counterfeits looked almost identical to the real thing – especially to the non-technical – it was important to develop a new effective identity label and to make the labelling consistent across the range of products under threat. The new system allows PSA suppliers and PSA sites to order secure labels which would ensure a visual authentication of spare parts (as well as with other sophisticated and specific tools). The system provides for a single worldwide printer of labels, a web platform for ordering the labels, and complete traceability from production to delivery to suppliers.

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