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Counterfeit montage: pharmaceutical products, hand bands and cd's.

In its report, Counterfeiting in the Canadian Market: How Do We Stop It?, the Canadian Intellectual Property Council points out continuing weakness in Canada’s intellectual property rights regime that undermine innovation, our economic prosperity and our security. The CIPC works under our banner to protect and improve intellectual property rights.

Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime. It involves much more than illegal knock-offs of luxury goods. When consumers buy bogus heart medicine, car brakes and electrical equipment, people’s lives are at stake. Counterfeit and pirated products continue to flood the traditional and on-line marketplace and they are now infecting the supply chain of government procurement.

Yesterday, the CBC reported that some of Canada’s new Hercules military transport planes have counterfeit parts in their cockpits that could leave pilots with blank instrument panels in mid-flight, threatening both the safety of the flight crews and our national security.

Tonight, the CBC will air Counterfeit Culture, a documentary on the effects of the problem Facebook.com/CounterfeitCulture.

The RCMP’s most recent quarterly intellectual property crime statistics show that the value of infringing goods continues to grow at an alarming rate. China continues to account for 80% of counterfeit consumer goods found in Canada, with 30% of those goods seized posing a risk to the Canadians’ health and safety. As an example, pharmaceutical counterfeits are now at 7% of all products seized, up from 4% in 2011. But that figure does not include counterfeit products found in the supply chain, including computer chips in military hardware or counterfeit circuit breakers found in public buildings, which threaten the safety of Canadians.

Counterfeiting in the Canadian Market examines the world’s current counterfeit problem and illustrates the risks associated with counterfeit products and their illicit distribution. Weaknesses in Canada’s intellectual property rights system invite criminality and hinder our ability to compete in the global economy. The report examines international best practices for combatting IP infringements and highlights five areas for modernizing Canada’s outdated system.

Canada lacks both the tools to accurately track the full extent of counterfeiting and the checks and balances needed to detect problems in the supply chain. For example, the Canadian Border Services Agency does not have a mandate for reporting on IP crime at the border. The inability to measure the full extent of bogus products being sold in Canada makes designing effective countermeasures much harder.

Our government needs to get serious about fighting counterfeit products. The price for inaction is much more than lost businesses and jobs. It can also mean lost lives.

Access the report.

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