Customs ropes in students to fight counterfeiting

Dubai Customs launches 9th edition of Intellectual Property Rights Award to spread awareness

Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
Yousuf Ozair Mubarak, director of IPR Department at Dubai Customs.
Gulf News

Dubai: Customs authorities are encouraging youngsters to come up with creative ideas that can further help spread awareness on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and the negative impact of counterfeit items on people’s health and the economy.

In its fight against counterfeiting and piracy and spreading an understanding about the adverse effects that counterfeit goods can have on consumers, Dubai Customs IPR Department launched the ninth edition of the Annual Award for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for universities and schools on Wednesday. The award allows youth to submit their entries of worthwhile projects and initiatives that tackle IPR and the harmful sides to counterfeit products.

During the announcement, Dubai Customs confirmed that in the first six months of 2016, Dubai Customs’ seizures of goods that infringed IPR mounted to 95, with an estimated value of about Dh38.4 million.

The department is working with the Ministry of Education to have both private and government schools and universities join the mission to spread awareness on IPR among new generations, officials said during a press conference.

During the awarding ceremony, first place-winning school and university will each receive Dh25,000, while second place winners will receive Dh20,000 and third place winners Dh15,000. All six winning academic institutions will also walk away with a Dh2,000 worth of Nikon cameras.

“The award is launched at the beginning of every academic year and concludes with the announcement of six winners in April who walk away with the prizes. Each participating school usually has a team of six to 10 students who will work on a particular project. The team of students from each school will be given Dh6,000 to implement their projects, said Yousuf Ozair Mubarak, director of IPR Department at Dubai Customs.

He said the award includes six categories — best awareness campaign, best website, best innovation or invention to protect intellectual property rights, participation in the Award through writing a book or a story about these rights, participation through a short play highlighting the risks of counterfeit goods, and preparing a short film on intellectual property rights.

“The schools and universities with projects that deliver a clear message will be shortlisted,” he added.

The competition has seen the participation of more than 130 schools and 22 colleges and universities since it kicked off, said Mubarak. “More than 88,000 students have benefited from the competition across the UAE.”

Students participating in the competition will be provided with Nikon cameras to be able to creatively execute their projects.

As part of a new initiative, Dubai Customs also announced having young ambassadors from different schools working on reaching out to students on the idea of IPR and how it protects innovation.

“We are taking a further step to support and register inventions by students that can help protect IPR and bust counterfeit goods. These inventions can be innovative devices that can help Dubai Customs during inspections.”

“Over the years, the award has proven to be successful and has managed to spread awareness among society members. Many creative projects are presented every year that tackle how counterfeits pose an immense threat to consumers’ health and the national economy,” said Saeed Al Tayer, executive director of Policies and Legislation, Dubai Customs.