Thursday, May 4, 2017
Criminal IP statistics in Vietnam and SE Asia
One of the major barriers to enforcement in SE Asia is the lack of transparency around counterfeiting and piracy crimes. Raids may happen but with multiple bodies handling them in a country and often no consistency, data is rarely collected. Criminal prosecutions may or may not follow; some countries have rules as to when a crime is prosecuted or not. When the regular criminal courts hear cases, it is very hard to collect data from remote areas.
The Vietnamese authorities and specifically Steering committee 389 which covers IP issues, announced in March their 2016 results, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister. 223,260 cases investigated, 1560 prosecutions of 1863 defendants and recovery of UDS948 billion were the numbers used. But these covered smuggling trade fraud and counterfeiting. In effect counterfeiting and piracy is buried in the data.
Countries choose their own information collection methods and reporting so the net result is no clear comparable data. ASEAN says that it intends to as part of its proposed enforcement plan to help collect data on enforcement.
This is a critical need for the region; to help understand how effective enforcement actually is and where improvements are needed. Thailand for all the criticism does at least have clear data from its IP/IT court because only one court hears IP cases. The rest of the region can hide weaknesses through poor data; IP holders need to start to drive collection and review of data to improvements can be made.