Protect intellectual property – combat brand and product piracy effectively
Brands are synonymous with intellectual property and are an essential flywheel for the economy as drivers of innovation. They stand for safe, healthy and reliable quality, and are the most important asset that many companies hold in their portfolios. Alongside physical assets, intellectual property is the foundation of the market economy. Forgeries and imitations of brands and products and their sale are often dismissed as a trivial offence. But brand piracy is a serious crime and is assuming ever more threatening proportions. It damages the reputation of the brand as well as companies, and hence threatens prosperity and jobs here in Germany. Counterfeit goods also pose a massive threat to the consumer’s health and even his life.
It is a long time since forgeries only related to luxury goods. Counterfeit products and brands can now be found in all economic sectors are in particular among widely distributed products in daily use. It is therefore urgently necessary to increase deterrence through harsher punishments under criminal law. At the same time, however, it can be seen that buying imitations is completely socially acceptable among many consumers. It is thus also important to make progress with large-scale education of consumers and in particular to tell young people about the ethical, economic and health risks associated with the purchase of counterfeit goods.
For long-term success in the battle against this form of criminality, everybody must work together. All market participants must today take social responsibility, right along the value creation chain. Corporate social responsibility, the responsibility of manufacturers and distributors regarding production and procurement, must be matched by socially responsible purchasing by consumers, ethical consumption. Not least, the aim must be to outlaw infringement of protected rights worldwide and, in a global economy, to develop a common understanding on combating brand piracy. The battle against product and brand crime is conducted by brand owners with great effort and expense so that consumers can continue to have confidence in brands. That is a promise.
In order to give all those with an interest or an involvement in this issue an overview of the problem, business federations BDI, DIHK and Markenverband set up an action group against product and brand piracy (APM) more than ten years ago. In addition, with the support of the German Justice Ministry, in 2007 ICC Germany, Markenverband, BDI and DIHK created a central information portal that provides information under BASCAP.
Markenverband works at all levels for the protection of brands.