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World Anti-Counterfeiting Day : Fresh new Belgian actor in the fight against counterfeiting

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In times of global pandemic, society needs more than ever safe and useful tools to fight against COVID 19. 

On this special day, we shall focus on the problematic linked to the sale of illicit pharmaceutical and biocidal products, PPE and medical devices and how it can be challenged.

In this regard, the EUIPO and the OECD recently published a joint study about “Trade in Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products”, highlighting the importance of the threat of counterfeit pharmaceutical products. From fake face masks to fake medicines promising a miracle cure or protection from the virus and fake COVID-19 testing kits, the counterfeit pharmaceuticals industry is posing a greater threat than ever. 

In response to this global threat, enforcement must be joined-up, with all stakeholders working together, namely the various IP right holders, their respective lawyers and representatives as well as the public / enforcement authorities.

With the publication on 4 June 2020 of a Royal Decree establishing a Belgian Interministerial Commission for the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, Belgium aligns into this perspective.

This Commission will be a forum for reflection and a body in which information and experiences will be shared. 

Although the Commission will not have decision-making powers to define the guidelines and priorities for criminal policy in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, it is officially responsible for coordinating the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

We can only applaud this first milestone as we have been waiting for a long time for a more structure coordination between the various authorities in charge. 

To this aim, the Commission will :

  • collect, analyse and disseminate relevant, objective and comparable information and data on the phenomenon of counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property rights to the competent authorities;
  • give an opinion and propose recommendations to the competent authorities, on its own initiative or upon request, on any matter relating to the fight against counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property rights;
  • organize training activities for officials of the competent authorities, as well as awareness-raising activities for citizens, consumers and economic operators with regard to the phenomenon of counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property rights;
  • supervise the creation of synergies between the competent authorities (including European authorities like the EU Observatory) with a view to operational collaboration in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property rights.

The Commission will be part of the Federal Public Service (FPS) Economy and compounded of at least 8 representatives coming from various public authorities like the FPS Finance (customs), FPS Economy, FPS Justice, Federal Police, Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) and the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP).

Need further information to protect your goods or enforce your IP rights ? Feel free to contact Lydian’s IP team, headed by Annick Mottet Haugaard, “the queen of anti-counterfeiting work in Belgium” according to the last edition of WTR1000. They shall be pleased to assist you and define the best strategy including notably the filing of a pan European application for action or just in the Benelux countries.