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FICCI and BSA Launch an IPR Tool-kit for customs officials in India

image001Ahmadabad, Gujarat- 11 December, 2014 —  BSA | The Software Alliance, along  with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) today launched an Intellectual Property tool kit in Ahmedabad, for customs officials. The tool kit will serve as a ready reckoner of relevant laws and methodologies to identify counterfeit products and handle copyright infringement issues. Following the tool kit launch, FICCI and BSA, in association with Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration (SPIPA) organized a capacity building program on IPR for Customs officials in Ahmedabad.

“The launch of the Intellectual Property Tool Kit for Customs is a welcome initiative as it will help the enforcement agency officials to handle cases of counterfeiting and other illegal trade practices more effectively”. This was stated by Mr. Samir Vakil, Executive Director, Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation during the launch of IP Tool Kit developed jointly by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and BSA | The Software Alliance at a program in Ahmedabad today.

Over the years, the role of customs officials has evolved drastically from collecting custom duties and other indirect taxes at import. Today, customs officials play an instrumental role in the enforcement of The Copyright Law by identifying and deterring the entry of demerit goods in the market. The FICCI Tool Kit, designed specifically for Customs, will serve as a ready reckoner of relevant laws and methodologies to identify counterfeit products and handle copyright infringement issues.

“We believe that India has a strong existing legal framework for protection of IP rights. However, there is a need to strengthen the enforcement of such laws. Sensitizing enforcement officials to deal with IP matters as they would with other economic offenses is the key,” said Yolynd Lobo, India Director, BSA. “Through the IPR tool kit, we are providing a comprehensive checklist for Customs officials to refer to regarding relevant statistics and data while enforcing IP rights to deter the use of counterfeit products.”

“The environment in which customs officials operate has changed radically over the past few years, especially with the growth of e-commerce in India which may sometimes enable counterfeiters to gain anonymity,” added Mr Jatin Trivedi, Chairperson, Legal Sub Committee, FICCI Gujarat State Council. “We believe that this initiative will contribute to Gujarat’s progress towards becoming an industrial hub. FICCI looks forward to engaging with the Gujarat state government, and subsequently with other state governments across India, to help curb piracy by making necessary policy recommendations.”

The initiative by BSA and FICCI aims to increase awareness on the importance of Intellectual Property compliance and enforcement especially among key stakeholders such as the Government, academia and industry at large. In the first phase, the IPR tool kit has been launched in Gujarat with capacity building workshops hosted by FICCI and BSA for the law enforcement agencies. As part of this collaborative initiative, awareness building programs are also being organized in Gujarat, particularly for micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) on the risks and disadvantages of using pirated goods.

The launch of the IPR Tool Kit for Customs officials is part of the series of initiatives under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between FICCI and BSA. The two organizations are working together to create awareness regarding risks of IP rights infringement and building capacities for law enforcement agencies on IP.

At the workshop, Dr. Alpesh Pathak, Global IP Head, INTAS Pharmaceutical Ltd., introduced to IPR,followed by a session on the extent of IPR infringement by Mr. Nakul Sherdalal, Advocate, Senior Associate, Y J Trivedi & Co. to demonstrate the importance and enforcement of IPR Mr. Pushpam Jha, Partner, Saikrishna & Associates, New Delhi shared  case studies and best practices for customs and Ms. Ritika Mogha, Associate Advocate, S.S. Rana & Co detailed out the specifics of the IP tool kit.

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