EC report reinforces ‘urgent’ need to step-up brand protection measures to protect IP, says trade body


A new report opens the way to strong growth and opportunity for anti-counterfeiting security devices such as holograms in developing countries, according to a global trade body.

The International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) was commenting on the European Commission’s ‘Report on the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in third countries’.

Dr Paul Dunn of the IHMA.

According to the report, illicit trade in fakes remains a serious risk to modern, open and globalised economies in third countries. Almost 70 million counterfeit items were seized by EU authorities in 2022 while counterfeit and pirated goods account for an estimated 3% of world trade and upwards of €119 billion (or 5.8%) of EU imports, according to current figures.

Pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco food items, cosmetics and toys are all among the goods often targeted by criminals and counterfeiters looking to cash in on unwary consumers, particularly as developing countries continue to recover from the impact of Covid and struggle in the face of challenging economic conditions and political instability.

China remains the top priority for efforts and resources to be devoted towards improving IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) protection and enforcement worldwide. India, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Thailand  also are priority countries.

This opens the door further to fresh investment by national governments and law enforcement agencies in anti-counterfeiting and authentication devices such as holograms which the IHMA says, are among the most active technologies in IP rights’ protection.

Chair of the Association, Dr Paul Dunn, said: “The most obvious owners of intellectual property rights are brand owners, who own the brand names. These appear on many of the traded goods familiar to consumers around the world - the better known the name, the more valuable the brand and hence the IP associated with that brand. 

“However, the EC report once again warns that brands and their associated IP stock, remain at risk from resourceful counterfeiters and criminals. Owners need to invest to protect their brands, reputation and profits – and holograms are one of the most effective ways to do that.

“The ever-evolving anti-counterfeiting role of holograms lies in their ability to combine authentication with detection - and this is why the more enlightened brand owners in developing markets should consider them an integral part of their authentication plans. 

This paves the way for holography growth, Dr Paul Dunn said: “The use of authentication solutions - as advocated by the ISO 12931 standard - enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from fake products emanating from counterfeiting hot spots. Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.”

Photo caption: Dr Paul Dunn of the IHMA.

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