Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property
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Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property

A Handbook of Contemporary Research

Edited by Christophe Geiger

This wide-ranging Research Handbook is the first to offer a stimulating and systematic review of the framework for criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights. If counterfeiting constitutes an ever-growing international phenomenon with major economic and social repercussions, potentially affecting consumer safety and public health, the question of which are the appropriate instruments to enforce IP rights is a complex and sensitive one. Although criminal penalties can constitute strong and effective means of enforcement, serious doubts exist as to whether criminal sanctions are appropriate in every infringement situation. Drawing on legal, economic, historical and judicial perspectives, this book provides a differentiated sector-by-sector approach to the question of enforcement, and draws useful conclusions for future legislative initiatives at European, international and national levels.
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Chapter 1: Economic, legal and social impacts of counterfeiting

Reto M. Hilty


Today, the keywords ‘counterfeiting’ and ‘piracy’ in the context of intellectual property are omnipresent in the public awareness. Searching for these terms on Google leads to countless hits, reporting on crime and danger. Many of these websites deplore the dramatic fate of the innovative industries concerned which are under increasing global assault. Yet, according to such websites, these industries are not the only victims. Counterfeiting of goods by infringing intellectual property rights (IPRs) allegedly also threatens consumers’ health, based on the fact that some of the most affected sectors are pharmaceutical industries (drugs), producers of technical devices (spare parts) and other manufactured articles (most significantly toys). Industrial designs and particularly the entertainment industries are similarly concerned. They all invoke the negative impact of counterfeiting for global economic growth, since it is ultimately supposed to endanger jobs. A further detail that repeatedly appears on these websites focuses on the locations where the counterfeit goods are produced; some countries recur again and again, most prominently China.

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