IP Crime Conference in Cape Town: Can the Public Sector Keep Up?

A clear result of the IP Crime Conference in Cape Town: According to prosecuting authorities, brand and product piracy is becoming increasingly digital and transnational. Counterfeiters today are technologically highly advanced and have a global reach – their products are produced in the country A, transported via the country B and sold in the country C within 24 hours. Organized IP crime migrates into social media and cyberspace, uses hidden links, works with crypto currencies and systematically evaluates prosecution measures and court rulings (counterfeiter intelligence).

Is the public sector still equipped for the sustainable fight against this new type of counterfeiting, or is it losing touch? International authorities and organizations such as INTERPOL, WIPO or WCO ICC, etc. are preaching more cooperation in order to master the situation, but they are not being heard. The cooperation between national police forces and authorities, which has been long called for, only takes place in rare exceptional cases. Authorities act nationally, do not exchange data, are too slow and do not have the innovative technologies that are necessary to combat transnational counterfeiting.

The necessary cooperation and innovation require resources that are not available in the public sector. Time, money and specific expertise, innovative technology, willingness to take risks and commitment – all these are characteristics of the private sector. Private enterprises however are still largely ignored in the public sector – civil servants fear competition.

Quite a few representatives of the authorities that were present in Cape Town were skeptical about the future of public anti-piracy. The public sector seems to be losing the connection to the dynamic development of counterfeiting. It is under increasing pressure to achieve results, which will lead to problems of legitimacy against the background of the enormous necessary expenditure financed by tax revenues.

Picture: Phando / Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA) – Minister of Police in South Africa Cele addresses attendees at the 13th International Intellectual Property Crime Conference

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