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 user 2003-12-23 at 10:40:00 am Views: 69
  • #4318


    Mexican attorney Alfredo Medina of Arochi, Marroquin & Lindner says counterfeiting has Spiraled out of control, due to the lack of effective tools, legislatively or operationally. But changes are afoot. This year, the government stepped up its fight against counterfeiters, starting with a restructure of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). A special division to fight intellectual property (IP) crimes was set up, but due to a lack of support, equipment and co-ordination, this was soon considered ineffective.

    Medina says: “The big change came when a division with nationwide capabilities was created. This was assigned over 20 IP-specialised prosecutors, as well as equipment and police back-up to execute raids. In addition, the general prosecutor for Mexico instructed each state representative to assign prosecutors to handle only IP cases. The change has resulted in important seizures and a dramatic rise not only in raids but also in the time of response and quality of work carried out by this special division.”

    Bill Duffy, CEO of the US-based Imaging Supplies Coalition for International Intellectual Property Protection, adds: “This year, we have seen a precedent-setting enforcement action on some retail stores in Mexico City. It was the first time that a brand owner, Epson, initiated a raid on a location housing multiple violators of intellectual property rights. The result was the seizure of hundreds of counterfeit Epson ink cartridges. A second raid resulted in the seizure of thousands of Epson and Canon ink cartridges and, in another enforcement action, Mexican customs seized two containers entering Mexico City. Each container held 3,000 counterfeit ink cartridges.”

    Manufacturers can also do their bit in helping to combat the problem, says Medina: “They should make sure that their products – or the packaging – incorporate a security measure, such as holograms, invisible marks or any other type of security tag. We are dealing with very well-organised people, and sometimes with criminals involved not only in counterfeiting but also with drugs. The AGO does not want to spend the whole night trying to decide whether it is dealing with an original or a counterfeit product.

    “If we can provide the official appraisers, who determine whether the product is an original or a knock off, with training and tools to easily detect fake products, not only would seizure be easier but the cases, once in court, would be robust and won more easily.”