DUBAI // Ignoring copyrights, faking trademarks, stealing patents: these are just a few of the intellectual property rights infringements Dubai Customs inspectors are on the lookout for.
The department seized more than Dh31 million in counterfeit items last year, and in the first quarter of 2011 they have made 148 busts.
Between 2009 and 2010, Dubai Customs recorded a 75 per cent increase in registered cases of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement.
Ahmed Mahboub Musabih, the executive director of the Clients Management division at Dubai Customs, said 689 seizures were made at different border entry points in 2010, compared to 393 seizures in 2009.
"Dubai Customs combats counterfeiting and piracy by relying on a highly-qualified national inspectors," he said.
He also said Unilever Arabia had registered the most IPR infractions last year.
The British/Dutch-owned multinational owns brands such as Lux, Axe, Dove and Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Isam Badwailan, brands protection manager for Unilever North Africa & Middle East, said: "We cannot fight counterfeits alone; all local and international organisations along with the government authorities must play an active role."
The company conducts training sessions for custom inspectors and staff in the region to help them spot counterfeit Unilever products.
Dubai Customs introduced an IPR administration department in 2005, which works closely with brand owners and importers.
According Mr Yusif Ozair, senior manager of the IPR Department at Dubai Customs, the administration registers imported brands to ensure counterfeit products can be spotted and seized.
"More than 1,250 trademarks are registered in our electronic system and linked to all entry points in Dubai, which helps customs inspectors identify the products type and take the necessary legal actions against them," he said.
Dubai Customs director general Ahmed Butti Ahmed yesterday said the customs authority in the emirate will continue to advance by introducing new technology to curb IPR infractions.
"We are very keen on developing and taking the best inspection procedures on the borders, which contributes to prohibiting the entry of fake and counterfeited goods into the local market and increases the consumers' trust in the original products purchased," he said.
"In addition to that, these actions help preserve our society and sustain its individuals' health and safety".