The Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai made remarkable progress in protecting the rights of trademark owners in 2015 by confiscating 63 million pieces of varied counterfeit goods worth over AED 1.01 billion, a significant increase over the 37 million pieces of imitations worth AED 188 million seized during the previous year. The achievement was the result of closer market monitoring to ensure Dubai maintained its competitive edge as a trading hub as well as investment destination, and a sharper focus on intellectual property (IP) protection.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranks the UAE 22nd globally in intellectual property rights protection and DED in co-operation with the federal and local government authorities as well as the private sector is working to move the country further up in the ranking.
Eyewear topped the list of confiscated goods in terms of value – about AED 171 million – followed by accessories worth AED 139 million and counterfeit phones worth AED 132 million. Computer accessories accounted for the largest number of pieces confiscated with 22 million, followed by 14 million pieces of accessories and 10 million pieces of cosmetics.
Mohammed Rashed Ali Lootah, Executive Director of CCCP, commented: “The Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection sector keeps a close watch on any rapid change in the supply situation in the market and tracks wholesalers and suppliers to trace the origin of counterfeit products. Our field inspectors maintain round-the-clock vigil and some of the raids were conducted in the early hours of the day or late night to catch them by surprise.”
Lootah also mentioned the expanding partnership between DED and the private sector, particularly trademark owners and law firms, to make Dubai a remarkable IP rights environment. “For example, CCCP has signed agreements with owners of leading international brands to share information on the sources of counterfeit goods and maintain cross-border co-operation to track their country of origin.”
Continued efforts by DED has also seen the number of inspection visits by DED increasing from 11,228 to 11,985, or up 7%, in 2015 even as cases of IP rights violation fell to 5,101 from 5,897 in 2014, a decline of around 13%, reflecting the improving efficiency of the raids.
“What we have achieved is the result of regular meetings and exchanges with brand owners. We encourage them to register their trademarks to protect them, and conduct joint awareness campaigns targeting all segments including consumers and merchants, to guarantee everyone’s rights,” said Ibrahim Behzaad, Director of Intellectual Property Protection in CCCP.
“In line with the smart governance vision of Dubai, we have expanded our vigil to the online space too to prevent traders from using this medium to promote counterfeit goods. Accordingly, 1,009 Instagram accounts, which together had 31.2 million followers was closed down for selling counterfeit goods. We are always on the lookout to detect and curb trademark infringements across any channel,” said Behzaad.
The Intellectual Property Protection division in CCCP in co-ordination with major international companies organise training programmes for its employees to enhance their skills in detecting counterfeits. In addition, the co-operation of other government agencies are also sought to conduct field inspections and raids.