Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Singapore counterfeit goods transshipment

Image result for singapore container port
IPWeek@SG closed today. IP Komodo espoused in the last talk one final message that Singapore address the issue of transshipment of counterfeit goods through the island state. Singapore is the largest transshipment port in the world, which unfortunately means it is transshipping a vast quantity of counterfeit goods - probably unknown to it.  Singapore earns a lot of money from this, charging shipping lines and storage charges for containers.

Meanwhile with no customs recordal and limited ex officio action, it is up to brand owners to try and divine what counterfeit goods are passing through Singapore and report it to Customs. And then engage in pricey civil litigation to detain and destroy goods. Clearly a civil court seizure system is inappropriate for what is essentially a volume problem - vast quantities of counterfeit goods passing through Singapore en route to other ports worldwide.

What Singapore needs to do is conduct effective Customs risk assessment analysis and intercept suspect shipments passing through the port, then report to IP owners. But first establish a system whereby once illicit counterfeit goods are identified then upon notification to the shipper to justify why the goods are not fake (in which case it can go to court - very rare), then the goods should be destroyed.

Then Singapore can rightly claim to be the region's IP hub. Right now the issue of transhipment causes more than a whiff of suspicion from brand owners.




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