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Counterfeits made easier?

Author : Paul Gay

14 September 2010

A statement made by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) stated that Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on copyright with Liu Binjie, Minister of the National Copyright Administration (MoU) of the People’s Republic of China.

Counterfeits made easier?
Counterfeits made easier?

Many commentators are asking whether this agreement will protect Britain’s industry from the dangers of counterfeit equipment or is it simply a treaty to boost trade between our two countries.

Counterfeit goods from the Far East, including China, have often been at the centre of failure in process equipment and in certain cases may well have contributed to worker injury following accidents or catastrophic breakdowns. It is so tempting to use low costs replacement parts, especially if they look to be stamped with a certification mark and on the surface are exactly the same as the components they are replacing.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that look-a-likes have the same performance as their more costly originals. Looks and certification stamps cannot always be trusted. And for that matter nor can copyright agreements between two trading nations so what will last week’s MoU achieve.

According to BIS, the agreement will see both countries cooperate and work together on copyright issues to help to promote a strong national and international economy. Intellectual Property Minister, Baroness Wilcox said of the signing: "This agreement will see our two nations work together to improve the prospects for businesses in both countries. UK firms will be helped to understand and therefore access the Chinese market.

"The agreement will also help develop ways of protecting companies in both countries from missing out on the benefits of their creativity through piracy and counterfeiting," the Baroness added.
Under the terms of the MoU, the two countries will share ideas and best practice while also promoting the importance of intellectual property. The agreement will also see Britain and China seek coordination on copyright issues while looking for opportunities for development and training in copyright laws.

This commentator is not convinced that the agreement will provide any protection against dangerous imitations. In fact, making trade easier may even make it easier for Far East counterfeits to find their way into Britain’s hazardous area industry.


From: Dave Stubbings
Certification Manager, Sira

Your article seems to suggest that counterfeiting will be made easier, however the announcement from BIS is just another step on what will be a long path to reducing faked goods on the market. I can only view this in a positive way, as there is nothing that would suggest the future will be any worse than the past, but may actually be better.

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