November 25, 2008

U.S. Chamber Applauds INTERPOL’s Efforts to Tackle IP Theft in Africa

New Program Will Provide Training and Resources to Help 26 African Nations Combat Illicit Trade


WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today applauded INTERPOL as the international law enforcement organization launched its Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Program in Africa. The new program builds on other Chamber-backed anti-counterfeiting and piracy initiatives in Europe, South America and Southeast Asia, and will incorporate participating African nations in the global effort to combat this illicit trade.

“Intellectual property theft is a global problem that affects every corner of the earth,” said Brad Huther, senior advisor of the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center. “Incorporating African governments in this effort is essential for fostering innovation-driven economic growth and the dissemination of legitimate products to combat regional health and agricultural challenges.”
Today’s announcement comes at the conclusion of IP Crime Training and Operational Workshops in Nairobi, which were co-hosted by INTERPOL and Kenya’s police, and featured representatives from police, customs, drug regulatory agencies, IP offices, international organizations and businesses from 26 Eastern and Southern African countries. The workshops focused on training nations to lead proactive transnational investigations against organized IP crime.

In addition to ensuring only legitimate and safe medicines reach consumers afflicted by HIV, malaria and other diseases, African nations also face the growing threat of bogus agricultural products. The illegal trade in counterfeit agrochemicals wreaks havoc on crops, jeopardizes the agricultural sector of the economy and puts dangerous foods in the mouths of consumers.

“Strong intellectual property laws promote the development of homegrown innovative industries to meet the needs of the region, while protecting the legitimate stream of commerce from bogus and dangerous products,” added Huther. “The Chamber is proud to support INTERPOL’s efforts to make the African continent a true partner in the global campaign to strengthen and enforce intellectual property protections.”

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion IP as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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