Industry leaders from around the world unveiled new strategies to combat counterfeiting and piracy, including a set of urgent recommendations for a global anti-counterfeiting pact the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) being negotiated by major trading countries and pledged their support to work with WCO and WIPO

According to a press release by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Industry leaders have called on heads of G8 countries to lead the way in improving national Intellectual Property (IP) enforcement regimes and announced a set of their own in-country initiatives beginning with Canada, Germany, the UK, Russia, China and the United States.

The CEOs also announced plans for a ground-breaking consumer education campaign that will take a global approach to building awareness of the damages caused by counterfeiting and piracy.

The CEOs and senior corporate executives of the ICC's Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) met in New York with the United States Trade Representative, World Customs Organization (WCO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to agree on joint efforts to tackle counterfeiting and piracy.

The CEOs called on US Trade Representative Susan Schwab to move quickly towards completing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in cooperation with its trading partners, and pledged their support to work with WCO and WIPO.

The ICC has pushed for business to become more involved in developing ACTA, which was introduced in October by the US, European Union, Japan, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and other countries.

The new agreement would focus on filling the gaps not covered by existing multilateral agreements, including stronger enforcement measures, improved international cooperation and a strong legal framework for IP protection.

“It is a positive step and very encouraging that the US, EU, Japan and many other major developed countries have recognized the need for a new multilateral agreement dealing with this critical issue,” Vice Chairman and Executive Officer of General Electric and Co-Chair of BASCAP Bob Wright said.

The ICC and the International Trademark Association (INTA) have teamed up to support ACTA.

“Expectations for ACTA are high. This proposed agreement has the potential to deliver significant improvements in establishing stronger international guidelines and standards, and providing national governments with clear directives for action,” INTA Executive Director Alan Drewsen said.

The two global business organizations presented on March 3, 2008, a paper outlining their recommendations to Ambassador Schwab. ICC and INTA will distribute the paper to the leaders of the EU, Japan, Korea, Mexico and other governments, and will work with business organizations around the world to press governments to finalize an agreement.

“Quite simply, there is a need for a new gold standard to guide government performance on IP enforcement. We hope that ACTA can emerge as this new standard, especially since the existing regimes just aren’t enough,” ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban noted.

BASCAP will launch country-based action centers to leverage local business voices and push for tangible actions at the national level. The initiative will begin this year with Canada, Germany, the UK, Russia, China and the US.

Border control will be a critical element in strengthening each country’s IP enforcement regime. Business leaders pledged to support the World Customs Organization’s latest plans to strengthen customs efforts to stop the flow of counterfeit goods across borders.

BASCAP also announced plans for a new consumer awareness and education campaign that could be used by ICC’s national committees and brand protection groups to spell out the dangers of counterfeit and pirated goods. BASCAP announced plans to work with the WIPO and seek out other government partnerships on the campaign.