Call to work in collaboration with Customs officers

OCO regional workshop on Customs Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement held at the Tanoa International Hotel. Picture: SUPPLIED

CUSTOMS have a key role to play, not only to facilitate trade and investment but also to protect local businesses and communities.

This was one of the issues that were highlighted at the regional workshop on Customs Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement in Nadi recently.

A statement from the Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) stated that the Customs staff attending the workshop gained a solid understanding of Intellectual Property Rights and how it impacted their respective nations around the Pacific.

It said Customs officers were particularly appreciative towards information on false medication that was entering the Pacific through people buying these counterfeit products on line and what it took to tackle that issue.

Participants at the workshop also noted that Customs cannot do this in isolation but in consultation and collaboration with key stakeholders and in moving forward participants agreed to use the all partners access network (APAN) and the IONICs information sharing platforms to work collaboratively through information sharing.

Peter Fowler, USPTO senior counsel for Enforcement shared that: “The workshop organised with the OCO was an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the relationship between intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement at the border and public health and safety concerns for consumers.

“It was an opportunity to encourage OCO members to become more proactive in seeing IP enforcement as a part of border security”.

The OCO head of secretariat, Richard Brennan highlighted that this was a new concept for some of the administrations attending and it would not have been possible without the OCO-USPTO memorandum of understanding signed in October 2018, to strengthen existing intellectual property enforcement systems by establishing a mechanism for regular exchanges of information and for undertaking co-operative activities.

The workshop was held by OCO in collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the International Trademark Association (INTA), the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), and React recently.

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