Switzerland launches anti-counterfeiting awareness campaign


Swiss Justice Minister Christoph Blocher has launched a nationwide campaign to raise public awareness of the damage counterfeit products cause to the economy. The campaign is supported by the STOP PIRACY Swiss Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Platform - a partnership between the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property and the Swiss National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce.

STOP PIRACY has the mission to "mount a vigorous and long-term fight against counterfeiting and piracy through active awareness-building and enhanced coordination and cooperation between the private and the public sectors as well as within those sectors". It currently has around 40 members. In addition to various Swiss governmental agencies, a number of industry branches are also involved, such as the watch, pharmaceutical, food, textile and tobacco industries. A working group, which aims to give equal and broad representation from industry and governmental agencies, is responsible for the implementation of the plan of action.

Although Switzerland is not a centre for production of counterfeit goods, it is seen as a hub for the transit of such goods between EU countries. Switzerland is also viewed as something of a soft touch when it comes to the prosecution and enforcement of border measures. Legal provisions providing for border measures do exist in the Copyright Act, Designs Act and draft Patent Act, however, the practical impact is limited. Customs clearance is conducted mainly electronically; formal physical controls and random inspections are seldom.

Consequently, while this campaign to raise public awareness is to be welcomed, it must be backed by firmer action from Customs.

Barbara Müller, Meyer Lustenberger, Zurich

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