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Delegates at the 10th Regional Conference on Combating Intellectual Property Crimes in the Middle East and North Africa, at Al Habtoor Palace Hotel in Dubai today. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai thwarted 280 attempts to smuggle counterfeit products worth Dh36 million into the country during the first nine months of this year.

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, the CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and Director General of Dubai Customs, said that last year, the number of intellectual property rights violation attempts numbered 250 and were worth Dh62 million.

“The UAE has maintained a leading position among Arab countries, and has maintained an advanced position globally in the field of protecting intellectual property rights and combating piracy, despite the challenges the world has witnessed due to COVID-19 pandemic,” Musabih said during his key-note address at the 10th Regional Conference on Combating Intellectual Property Crimes in the Middle East and North Africa.

Dr Abdul Quddus Al Obaidli, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Emirates Intellectual Property Association, speaks at the conference. Image Credit: Supplied

Combating intellectual property crimes

The conference was held at Al Habtoor Palace Hotel in Dubai, under the patronage and in the presence of Lieutenant-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, the Deputy Chief of Police and Public Security in Dubai and honorary president of Emirates Intellectual Property Association. The event was organised by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), Dubai Police and Emirates Intellectual Property Association, in cooperation With the Ministry of Justice, Dubai Customs, and the Trademark Owners Council. A number of experts and specialists from law-enforcement agencies, in the field of combating intellectual property crimes, and a number of Arab, regional and international bodies and personalities, attended the event.

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The conference in progress at Al Habtoor Palace Hotel in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

“The number of registered trademarks has reached nearly 270,000 and the number of patents has reached the registered invention numbering approximately 26,000 patents, to support the country and its permanent progress in the field of creativity and innovation,” Musabih said. He added that Dubai Customs was working to achieve its vision to be the world’s leading customs administration, supporting legitimate trade through a clear message aimed at protecting society and promoting economic development through commitment, facilitation and innovation and thereby tighten control over all Dubai Customs outlets.

“We were able to control the huge number of shipments and customs transactions, which, during the ten months of this year numbered 17.2 million transactions,” he said.

Danger to digital technology

Meanwhile, Abdulaziz Obaidallah, the Assistant Director of the Coordination Office for the Middle East and North Africa in the Department of Global Communication and Regional Support at Interpol, said digital technology kept millions of people in contact with each other during the pandemic, but this technology itself is not immune from danger.

“E-commerce has witnessed an unprecedented boom during the pandemic, as well as the market for illegal goods. Criminals have seized the opportunity by flooding digital markets with counterfeit products and some of these illegal products are of low quality and dangerous,” Obaidallah said at the conference.

‘A serious threat’

In recent months, fake personal protective equipment, fake vaccination cards and even fake vaccine doses have been offered for sale on the Internet. “Thanks to our hard work, millions of counterfeit masks and thousands of fake vaccines have been seized. However, the networks that make and sell these counterfeit goods as a sustainable business continue to pose a serious threat to the world,” he added.

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Dr Abdul Quddus Al Obaidli, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Emirates Intellectual Property Association, said the conference reviewed best practices in combating international crimes related to intellectual property rights, through seven discussion sessions and 21 working papers, with participation from 35 local, regional and international experts and specialist law-enforcement agencies.