10 July 2018

Mathys & Squire chairs ACACAP and ACG Workshop

Mathys and Squire Partner, Margaret Arnott, and Managing Associate, Laura West, hosted a workshop organised by the Asian Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (ACACAP) in conjunction with the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG)  on Thursday 5th July.

The discussion focused on: “Intelligence Led Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement Strategies from Asia to the UK”, exploring and sharing effective ways to mitigate the risks of counterfeiting in Asia and the UK. There was also a lively debate regarding the Belt and Road initiative proposed by the Chinese Government, which is set to have a marked impact on the current enforcement strategies of many brand-owners.

The event was attended by representatives of a number of well-known brands, who are at the forefront of tackling IP infringement and counterfeiting within their businesses. The delegates heard from brand protection professionals including representatives from the ACG and ACACAP, the International Centre for Counter Terrorism and the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

Tailored specifically to brands with manufacturing or trading interests in Asia, the workshop and debates explored effective ways of utilising the sharing of intelligence and collaboration in mitigating the risks of counterfeiting in Asia and the UK.

Laura West, event chair, noted that “the workshop brought together a fantastic range of individuals who experience first-hand the damage of counterfeiting activity here in the UK and overseas. The aim of the event was to explore recent trends in counterfeiting activity (both locally and internationally), share experiences regarding the threats that have been faced over the past year or so and to discuss possible strategies and solutions for tackling this ever-present problem. For me personally, the fantastic presentations and active debates throughout the day highlighted three key ‘take-home’ messages…”

  • Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime and should be a high priority to government and law enforcement officials, particularly as there is evidence to suggest that it often delivers the funding required by criminals to pursue more serious criminal activity such as terrorism;

  • Flexibility is key when undertaking a brand protection role. Counterfeiters are good at what they do and will adapt and change their modus operandi as soon as you successfully remove one of their (often numerous) sales channels;

  • One of the best ways to tackle this issue on a wider scale is to effectively gather intelligence and to share this information (where possible) with other businesses and organisations such as the ACG and ACACAP who are in regular discussion with relevant stakeholders and law enforcement. A lot of evidence is not being effectively collected or, when it is collected, is not leaving the confines of that business or organisation. The sharing of this intelligence will help identify where infringers are targeting a number of different brands and therefore where an effective strategy would be to group together and share resource in tackling the individuals as well as possible links and connections that may otherwise be missed and that may help identify the source of counterfeit product.

If you are looking to protect your brand or would like to know more about trade marks in general, please email Laura West via [email protected]

Laura is a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney with experience in the filing, prosecution and enforcement of trade marks all over the world. She has a strong focus on business growth through imports, exports and global portfolio management and often works closely with Customs and Trading Standards in assisting her clients protect against counterfeit goods.

Margaret has been a trade mark specialist in private practice since 1992. She is a registered UK and European trade mark and design attorney and a member of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys. Margaret has considerable experience in advising a broad range of clients, including multinational corporations, in the development, management, exploitation, protection and enforcement of their trade mark portfolios.

ACACAP was founded in May 2014 and is based in Singapore with partners in over 30 Asian countries. ACACAP provides local expertise, investigations and enforcement actions to protect brands against counterfeiting and serves as a forum to discuss alternative solutions to counterfeiting and piracy.

The ACG represent the interests of: UK and international manufacturers, distributors and retailers; lawyers; trade mark agents; and brand protection specialists, campaigning to change perceptions of counterfeiting as a harmless activity and expose it as a serious organised crime.

The event was sponsored by Incopro.