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India should adopt innovative and interactive measures to create consumer awareness on counterfeiting and smuggling: Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Judge, Supreme Court of India

Sep 23, 2022

Awareness campaigns in vernacular key to tackling smuggling and counterfeiting: Dr Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister

NEW DELHI, 23 September 2022: Hon'ble Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul Judge of Supreme Court of India today said that while every citizen must be made aware of legal provisions to deal with counterfeiting and smuggling, they should also in turn understand the importance of buying genuine goods. "In order to create mass awareness about the ill effects of counterfeiting and smuggling, it is necessary to reach out to all sections of the society. India will have to adopt innovative and interactive measures to reach out to its consumers," he asserted.

Addressing the day-2 of 8th edition of 'MASCRADE 2022', organized by FICCI-CASCADE, Justice Kaul said that it is imperative for all stakeholders to prepare well to meet the emerging threats and challenges associated with counterfeiting and smuggling in consonance with the changing nature of the illegal activity. "This is critical at a time when India is making strong progress to become a manufacturing hub for the world, supporting innovation in every sector and focusing on people-centric development models," he added.  

Justice Kaul further stated that from smuggling, counterfeiting and tax evasion, to the illegal sale, illicit trade is impacting legitimate economic activity. It also deprives governments of revenues for investment in vital public services, dislocating millions of legitimate jobs and causing irreversible damage to ecosystems and human lives, he added.

Justice Manmohan Sarin, Former Lokayukta, NCT of Delhi, Chief Justice, High Court of Jammu & Kashmir, Judge, High Court Delhi and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE said that there is enough discretion in the existing laws to carry out the judicial powers for attaining the desired objectives.

FICCI-CASCADE Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti-Smuggling Awards were given to enforcement officers, school children and journalists during the Valedictory session.

Mr Sanjeev Tripathi, Former Chief of RAW and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE also shared his perspective during the valedictory session.

Earlier during the day Dr Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said that as consumers and citizens, we ask the government to do various things, but it actually is up to us how we tackle counterfeits and smuggled goods. "The broader issue is consumer mindset," he added.

If the consumer regards a commodity as something where the after-sale service is unimportant, then it tends to be much more price sensitive as they don't care about the quality, stated Dr Debroy. However, he averred that as systems become more organised, the importance of the grey market becomes less and less. He also suggested sensitising consumers using vernacular languages.

Mr Narendra K Sabharwal, Chairman, FICCI IP Committee & Former Deputy Director General, WIPO and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE, alluded to various studies, particularly by OECD, that have underscored the enormous impact of counterfeit and pirated products on international trade and noted the figure could be in excess of US$ 460 billion per year. 

Mr Sabharwal noted that the counterfeiters have become increasingly sophisticated in subverting the system using artificial intelligence applications to create comparable or even better counterfeits. "Some estimates point that one out of five products sold on eCommerce sites might be fake," he added. He also suggested that keeping a watch on the product promotional efforts adopted by counterfeiters and cyber squatters are some measures that can prove effective in tackling online infringement.

The event saw participation from several senior functionaries from leading international organisations, such as World Customs Organization (WCO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), INTERPOL, United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Organization for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD), US Homeland Security, and Australian Border Force.

During the two-day event, experts from India and abroad made highly informative presentations and spoke at multiple insightful plenaries, highlighting the significance of empowering consumers to take on the battle against illicit trade by boycotting smuggled and counterfeit goods.

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