Elgar Commentaries series
Article 61 requires Members to provide for criminal procedures and penalties for wilful trademark, counterfeiting and copyright piracy on a commercial scale, and allows Members the option of providing for criminal procedures and penalties for other cases of infringement. The provision does not impose a duty upon Members to prosecute any counterfeiting or piracy offences; although counterfeiting and piracy causes significant economic harm. According to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau of the International Chamber of Commerce: Counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes of modern times. It presents companies, governments and individuals with a unique set of problems. What was once a cottage industry has now become a highly sophisticated network of organised crime that has the capacity to threaten the very fabric of national economies, endanger safety and frequently kill. It devalues corporate reputations, hinders invest- ment, funds terrorism, and costs hundreds of thousands of people their livelihood every year. Counterfeiting accounts for between 5–7% of world trade, worth an estimated $600 billion a year.
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