Full thrust against piracy with new Alliance members and new website

23 Sep 2004

Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department and 32 copyright or trademark holder organisations today (September 23) witnessed the further empowerment of their alliance for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) through the launch of a specialised website and the recruitment of new member organisations.

Officiating at the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Alliance (IPRPA) Website Inauguration Ceremony at the City Hall this morning, the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Timothy Tong Hin-ming, said that under the IPRPA set up in March this year, the previous mode of 'one-to-one' co-operation between the Customs and individual member organisation of the industry had been uplifted to 'multiple co-operation' between the Customs and the industry as a whole and among the various sectors of the industry and the members of the IPRPA.

In addition, the IPRPA provided a more effective system in monitoring the piracy and counterfeiting activities in the market as well as increased the public and traders' awareness of the importance and advantages of IPR protection.

"Since the establishment of the IPRPA in March, there has been full support from the industry," Mr Tong said. "In only six months after the establishment, through the information and assistance provided by member organisations, the department has successfully detected 455 cases of infringing intellectual property rights and prosecuted 475 suspects, with seizures of infringing goods amounting to a total value of around HK$50 million. And the number of shops selling pirated disks has dropped from 80 in March to the latest 67.

"Most important, through the assistance from member organisations of the IPRPA, the time for verifying copyright holders and authorised users has shortened from eight weeks to the current four weeks when handling infringing copyright cases by the Customs," he said.

With 11 new copyright or trademark holder organisations/their representatives joining the Alliance today, the total number of member organisations has been increased to 32. This led to the solidification of the establishment in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting, and in maintaining the reputation of "Hong Kong - The Real Experience".

Mr Tong believed that more recognition of Hong Kong's status as a shopping paradise for genuine goods among Mainland visitors would benefit the economy. "With the further extension of the 'Individual Visit Scheme' to an additional 32 cities on the Mainland, more Mainland visitors have come to Hong Kong," he said. "From January to August, 2004, about eight million Mainland visitors have visited Hong Kong. As compared with the same period of last year, the number of Mainland visitors has increased by 65%. Every Mainland visitor on average spends $6,000 in Hong Kong. Therefore eight million Mainland visitors have brought an income of nearly $50 billion to Hong Kong.

"The endless stream of Mainland visitors flocking to Hong Kong have directly served as a promising platform for the development of local and international brands, and facilitated the introduction of those products into the huge Mainland market."

The establishment of the IPRPA Website (http://www.iprpa.org/) today aimed to further add new impetus of co-operation between the Customs and Excise Department and the intellectual property industry. The website not only provides a multi-media communication channel for the Customs and Excise Department and the intellectual property industry, but also creates a brand new platform of co-operation between both sides. It also enables the enforcement agency to have access to the latest information and to take speedy action against piracy in the market.

After the Assistant Commissioner, Mr William Chow Oi-tung, had presented crests to 11 new IPRPA members, the Head of the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau, Mr Tam Yiu-keung, gave a brief demonstration on the operation of the website.

Ends/Thursday, September 23, 2004

Previous Page