Efforts undertaken by Indian Customs to prioritise intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement and develop an IPR recordal system, due for launch later this year, have been commended at a workshop seeking to combat the trade in counterfeit goods through open and balanced dialogue between Indian enforcement agencies and right holders.

Jointly organised by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) – the principle Customs body in India –  the International Chamber of Commerce’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative and React – The Anti-Counterfeiting Network. The workshop was the latest in a series of step taken by ICC BASCAP to find effective solutions for IPR enforcement and protection in India.

Keynote speaker Satya Prasad Sahu, Commissioner of CBEC highlighted the active role that Customs plays in preventing counterfeit and other illegal goods from entry via Indian borders and underscored the enormous drain that counterfeit goods were on the India economy as well as the related dangers to consumer health and safety.

Counterfeiting is a deadly activity with severe bearing on the economy and consumers. Indian Customs is committed to work with industry to address the remaining challenges to fighting counterfeits,” Mr Sahu said.

Commending Indian Customs on recent efforts and progress made since the launch of a National IPR Policy in India, ICC BASCAP Director Sophie Peresson said that more can and must be done to remove barriers to effective IPR enforcement, in the fight against counterfeit goods that are imported and manufactured domestically.

Ms Peresson said: “In recent years, Indian Customs has taken several steps to tighten security at Indian borders and prevent counterfeits from reaching consumers. Industry continues to be encouraged by these initiatives and closer cooperation can resolve some of the issues that are preventing effective and swift enforcement actions.

In his opening remarks React Director Ronald Brohm said: “Protection by Indian Customs is becoming one of the most effective tools for brand owners to safeguard their consumers from fakes. A further enhancement of public-private cooperation to crack down on the trade in counterfeiting is required.

The one-day workshop took place in New Delhi on Monday 15 January under the theme ‘Role of Customs in Protecting India’s Consumers and Economy from Counterfeits’.

Bringing together customs officers from across the country, police, brand owners, international IP offices and embassies, industry associations and law firms in India, the event also featured more than 18 national, regional and global experts, who provided a broad range of perspectives on the role of customs and related challenges.

All agreed on the need for more cooperation among rights holders, customs and other enforcement agencies.

In his closing remarks, Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion – the nodal IPR policy body in India – concluded that the need for strong KYC policies from intermediaries was crucial to secure the supply chain. Mr Aggarwal also said that coordination among government agencies and with industry was necessary to achieve better results.

ICC BASCAP through the BASCAP India Working Group continues to offer support to the Indian Government in strengthening trademark and copyright enforcement and protection in India.