CII holds conference on counterfeiting and piracy

by CXOtoday Staff    Aug 23, 2010

piracycounterfeitCIIWith printing technology being able to print almost anything, copying FMCG and automobiles products has become very easy for counterfeiters. There is also a known and unknown complicity by the consumer who does not mind the ‘bargain’. The CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) held a conference to discuss how companies can fight piracy and counterfeiting of FMCG goods. The conference consisted of a panels representing the FMCG and automobile industry who debated on the measuring and addressing the cost of counterfeit products.

O S Sadhwani, Joint Commissioner - Law, Government of Maharashtra said, “One simple reason to fight counterfeiting is because when someone buys such a product but is not satisfied, it affects the brand adversely in the long run. Sadly the customer might not know that the product is a counterfeit.” Even though Sadhwani solution for fighting this problem is simple, its coordination is considered complex. “Three stake holders lose to counterfeiting — manufacturers, the Government and consumer. They have to come together. At manufacturing level, they should be able to identify a counterfeit that can be done by introducing tacit identifiers in the packaging which only a select field staff would know.”

Sadhwani stressed upon the need for manufacturers to maintain integrity of supply chain, the printer who prints and one who makes the packaging material. The joint commissioner of law suggested that even rejected material should be discarded and destroyed. The media can also play a crucial role in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. It was suggested that the media should publicize raids and punishments to discourage counterfeiters.

Despite these measures, often counterfeit products make their way into the supply chain. Elaborating on the legal issues to curb them, Pravin Anand, Patent Attorney, Anand & Anand Advocates, said, “Somewhat of a revolution is taking place in the Indian judicial system that are not so well known.” He gave examples where video recordings has been made permissible in court, where there is no longer a need to file a written statement, a limit was imposed on time for filing replies, limiting witnesses to a case, courts working on Saturdays, etc. This has led to the completion of IP violation cases in as less as 6 months.

Myth: China is to blame for counterfeit products
The panelists agreed that if counterfeiting is fought at the point of origin, i.e., during the export of goods, it can become easier to nab. Unfortunately, in order to increase profits, most countries’ customs department raid only imports. Michael Ellis, Head of Brand Protection, Beiersdorf, informed of an interesting statistic about China, “People usually blame China for counterfeit products. Ironically China, along with Argentina, is the only one of the two countries in the world where customs check exports, rather than imports. The result — 99.96 percent of all counterfeiting seizures in China was from its exports.”

However, this is not the drive of the Indian Government, complained Anubhav Jain, Brand Protection, South Asia, Mercedes-Benz India Pvt Ltd. “For the Indian Government, unlike the Chinese Government, export of counterfeiters is a non-issue because they believe that even counterfeits generate employment opportunities. The Chinese believed the same once but now understand that it is much more profitable for everyone to prevent it proactively.”

Professor Sudhir Gupte, Managing Committee Member, SAE India, believes informed that sometimes the legal manufacturers themselves are to be blamed as they tend to be led by greed because they produce sub-standard parts to make more money, leading to the creation of counterfeiters.

The panelists were unanimous on one point — that if this menace has to be fought, a paradigm shift is required from all stakeholders — manufacturers, Government and customers.