Vendors take aim at fake goods in the GCC

Multinational vendors including Philips Electronics have created a new industry body charged with taking the fight to counterfeiters in the GCC and Yemen.

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By  Michael Thorne Published  June 6, 2006

Multinational vendors including Philips Electronics have created a new industry body charged with taking the fight to counterfeiters in the GCC and Yemen. The Brand Owners Protection Group (BPG) is a non-profit organisation committed to combating the distribution of counterfeit products as well as illicit trade in the region. “BPG’s strategy for achieving these goals is to use all legal means at our disposal to handle soaring brand protection costs. Of course we will not be able to do that without the active cooperation of consumers, industry partners, government authorities – local, regional and international – and the media, who naturally share our desire to free the regional markets from illicit products that are hazardous,” said BPG representative Omar Shteiwi. The BPG is urging other brand owners working in the Arabian Peninsula to join the group. Meanwhile, in the UAE, the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DDED) is seeking to increase the range of penalties for counterfeiters to include imprisonment and deportation. “If a consumer electronics vendor has a trademark registered with the Ministry of the Economy and it comes to our department with a trade infringement then we will open a case for a fee of US$545,” Mohammed Hilal Al Murooshdi, director of the compliance division at the Department of Economic Development, told ECN. “If it is a new case then we will usually take action within two days, once we have reviewed the information submitted,” he said. Al Murooshdi explained that the department targets the sources of illicit goods, which are often manufactured overseas and shipped to Dubai illicitly. “However, if the products come from other Emirates then we can coordinate with the relevant authorities. We have had complaints from a number of consumer electronics vendors in the past, including Panasonic and Sharp,” he said.

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