x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Law against counterfeit goods in the UAE in final stage

Commercial fraud, counterfeiting, theft of intellectual property and other offences that could burden the economy will be given stricter punishments by law, ministry official says.

Counterfeit handbags sit on the shelves of a secret room of a store in Dubai.
Counterfeit handbags sit on the shelves of a secret room of a store in Dubai.

A federal law calling for tougher penalties on smugglers and sellers of fake goods is in its final stages, the Ministry of Economy said.

Commercial fraud, counterfeiting, theft of intellectual property and other offences that could burden the economy will be given stricter punishments by law, Humaid bin Butti Al Muhairi, the undersecretary at the ministry, said this week at a workshop.

The law will cover items such as fake bags, toys and even medicines.

The only law in practice was drafted in 1979. It calls for a maximum jail term of two years and maximum fine of Dh10,000 for cheating a customer by delivering goods that are different to what is ordered.

The workshop stressed the importance of international cooperation in fighting piracy and stopping the spread of counterfeit products.

Mr Al Muhairi said the UAE played a leading role in fighting counterfeit products through policies or amending laws to protect the rights of intellectual property.

He said the fake goods industry needed to be fought as it was a burden on the country's economy.

Mr Al Muhairi said the intellectual property issue was "an important one, which affects in a direct manner economic growth and general safety, and stops creativity and innovation".

He said brand owners suffered heavy losses through violations.

"And we in the UAE understood the dangers of this issue and took tough precautions to stop all kinds of this operation," Mr Al Muhairi said.

"Whether in products and goods or in ideas, we have drawn up rules and regulations governing the entry of the products to reveal the [smugglers] and bring them to the court."

Last year, the ministry conducted about 19,000 inspections to try to find counterfeit goods.

Alaine Azouaou, the French ambassador to the UAE, and representatives from his country's luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Lacoste and Hermes took part in the workshop.

osalem@thenational.ae