x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Police raids reduce HP counterfeits

A police crackdown on counterfeit goods worth millions of dirhams has made the UAE a better place to do business, according to the technology firm Hewlett-Packard.

First Lieutenant Khalid Al Muhairi, the head of the anti-commercial deception and piracy division, Dubai Police, left; Major Rashed Mohammad Saleh, deputy director of anti-economic crimes department, Dubai Police, centre; and Glenn Jones, the investigations and enforcements operations manager at HP. Satish Kumar / The National
First Lieutenant Khalid Al Muhairi, the head of the anti-commercial deception and piracy division, Dubai Police, left; Major Rashed Mohammad Saleh, deputy director of anti-economic crimes department, Dubai Police, centre; and Glenn Jones, the investigations and enforcements operations manager at HP. Satish Kumar / The National

A police crackdown on counterfeit goods worth millions of dirhams has made the UAE a better place to do business, according to the technology firm Hewlett-Packard.

Dubai Police has this year conducted four raids in which about 500,000 fake HP printer cartridges were seized.

It is part of a wider effort by authorities to stop the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods, which cost global economies an estimated US$775 billion (Dh2.84 trillion) a year.

"The total number of counterfeits seized in the UAE since 2011 is more than two million - and this is just counterfeit HP cartridges," said Tina Rose, the anti-counterfeit programme manager at HP. "It makes the UAE a stronger place for us to conduct business."

Ms Rose said that, of all the countries in the Middle East and Africa, the Emirates has made the highest number of seizures of fake HP products. "We're very grateful to the Dubai Police for seizing these products."

HP said yesterday that more than 30,000 counterfeit goods had been seized in several raids that took place in August.

Dubai Police uncovered fake printer cartridges and packaging, and made three arrests.

First Lieutenant Khalid Al Muhairi, who heads the anti-commercial deception and piracy division at Dubai Police, said his officers had seized 466,779 counterfeit HP items so far this year. "In 2012 we have until now four cases. The total [value of the HP items seized] is around Dh24 million."

He added Dubai Police had handled "around 200 cases" of counterfeiting so far this year, involving HP and other brands.

Dubai Police officials emphasised that they are targeting the distributors of counterfeit goods, rather than consumers who may buy the goods.

That is because many consumers unknowingly purchase fake goods because the counterfeits can be so convincing.

According to Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (Bascap), the global economic cost of counterfeiting and piracy is $775bn a year and that is estimated to rise to $1.7tn by 2015.

Glenn Jones, the investigations and enforcements operations manager at HP, who was speaking on behalf of Bascap, said that the problem had affected almost all sectors of business, from the fashion industry to technology. "Counterfeiting is as much of a crime as street theft or robbery. It has similar consequences for the economic and social well-being of a country," he said.

The executives were speaking yesterday at the Gitex Technology Week in Dubai.

Savas Yucedag, the anti-piracy and licence compliance chief at Microsoft, said software piracy "represents the most significant threat to the IT industry" in this region.

Mr Yucedag said the rate of software piracy in the Middle East and Africa region was 58 per cent - but much higher in some markets. "Countries like Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe have rates of pirated software well above 80 per cent."

However, copyright protection efforts by the UAE authorities had paid off, and Mr Yucedag said the level of piracy here is about 37 per cent.

"The UAE is far ahead of others in the region, and well prepared to advance to the next level of anti-piracy protection."

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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