Joint force needed to battle new counterfeiting

The joint force among the Government management agencies, enterprises and consumers must be enhanced in the fight against alarmingly rampant smuggling and counterfeiting.

“Efforts have been made, but not enough,” Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Đỗ Thắng Hải said at a conference held by the Market Surveillance Agency yesterday.

The fight against smuggling and counterfeiting must target the roots of the problem, Hải said.

Hải said that tight coordination between management agencies and local authorities in market watching was critical to boost efficiency.

Enterprises must play their part in the battle also, he said, urging them to work closely with management agencies, especially in how to differentiate authentic and counterfeit products.

Experts at the conference agreed that smuggling and counterfeiting were becoming more “sophisticated” in a variety of sectors including food and beverage, cosmetics and electronics.

Meanwhile, the lack of coordination, overlap in management, inactiveness of businesses and poor awareness of consumers coupled with light punishments for violations were major reasons why the efficiency of the fight against smuggling and counterfeiting remained below expectation.

Lê Thế Bảo, president of the Việt Nam Association for Anti-counterfeiting and Trademark Protection, said that enterprises and business associations played important roles in the battle against counterfeiting.

However, it would be very difficult for businesses to do it alone, Nguyễn Anh Ngọc, from intellectual property service firm Investip said.

Ngọc said that to wipe out counterfeit products efficiently, it was important to handle producers and importers of counterfeit products, for which enterprises needed the support of management agencies.

Ngọc said that a national steering committee on IP protection and anti-counterfeiting should be founded.

Nguyễn Đức Hiệp from the Việt Nam Steel Corporation said that stronger punishments on violations must be put in place as a deterrent force, adding that counterfeiting was undermining market shares, and prestige of businesses while eroding the business climate and harming consumers.

Deputy Director of the Economic Police Nguyễn Công Trực said that the legal framework for preventing smuggling and counterfeiting coupled with detailed regulations on IP protection must be improved.

Currently, there was no official definition of a counterfeit product, which caused difficulties in handling violations as a criminal case.

According to the Market Surveillance Agency, the market watches last year revealed more than 25,000 smuggling and counterfeiting cases, worth VNĐ536 billion (US$23.9 million) in goods value, and collected fines totalling VNĐ68 billion. – VNS

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