The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) has signed an agreement with Beet Al Hekma Consulting, under which the consultancy will co-ordinate with trademark owners and present their complaints through the website www.ipwhiz.com. The company will also provide DED employees working in the areas of intellectual property and commercial fraud with the latest information relating to original and counterfeit goods.
The initiative is part of the mission of DED’s Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection Division to combat commercial fraud and trademark infringements and also safeguard consumer rights.
The website www.ipwhiz.com represents ipwhiz, an international network of anti-counterfeiting enforcement officers and brand owners linked to the site. Its objective is to act against counterfeiting networks around the world in the best means possible. The website features include TrAC, a case database on which enforcement authorities can report cases directly to brand owners.
Omar Bushahab, CEO, Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Division of DED, and Gareth Davies, Director of Beet Al Hekma Consulting, signed the agreement at the DED headquarters recently.
“The Government of Dubai is committed to ensuring quality standards for products and services in the emirate and we are always on the lookout for more ways to connect with consumers and merchants. We work with the government authorities concerned to control any negative trade practices as part of our ongoing efforts to boost civic awareness of potentially harmful and fake or counterfeit goods,” said Omar Bushahab.
Bushahab noted that the sale and distribution of counterfeit products is against the law on intellectual property rights and also a commercial fraud. The partnership with Beet Al Hekma Consulting will further enable DED to control counterfeiting, which violates the rights of trademark owners and consumers.
Gareth Davies clarified that any inspector in the market can photograph a suspect product on a smartphone and upload it to www.ipwhiz.com, allowing the relevant brand owner to view and confirm whether the product is counterfeit and instruct them to be seized, at the click of a single button. This is instant communication from the head offices of corporations in Japan, Europe and America direct to the inspector in the street.
“Through this initiative DED will lead the way in the battle against counterfeiting. Those who produce and sell counterfeits of reputed brands not only cheat but also risk the health of consumers. They should be afraid of this technology,” added Davies.
As per the agreement, staff assigned by DED will receive in-depth information on counterfeiting and training on how to use TrAC. The employees will maintain the confidentiality of the website content and processes and the TrAC database, as well as upload pictures of the suspected goods to the database for brand owners to review them. They may also upload a summary of the trademark owner’s complaint on the website if necessary.
Beet Al Hekma Consulting will train DED staff to use the website and TrAC database, and provide them with user names, passwords and a user guide to TrAC system. The company will also administer the website and update data on TrAC as well as assist the owners of trademarks that have been infringed to obtain the required documents from DED.
The Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection Division organises regular meetings with brand owners to communicate DED’s role and its procedures. Leaflets are also distributed among merchants to make them aware of the dangers and disadvantages of counterfeiting and urge them to register their trademarks to protect them against violations.