WCO at International Law Enforcement Intellectual Property Crime Conference in Dubai

03 October 2018

The World Customs Organization (WCO) participated in the 12th International Law Enforcement Intellectual Property (IP) Crime Conference held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 25 and 26 September 2018. 

The event was co-hosted by INTERPOL and Dubai Police, in partnership with the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) and the Emirates Intellectual Property Association (EIPA).

The Conference brought together representatives from Police, Customs, regulatory agencies, international organizations and the private sector.  WCO Director, Compliance and Facilitation Ana Hinojosa attended the Conference and gave a presentation on the panel entitled “Anti-Counterfeiting at the Policy Level - Advocating Enforcement and Penalization”. 

During the panel discussion, the importance of collaboration between the various Police and regulatory authorities was highlighted by the WCO.  The latter also underscored the recently released Customs-Police Handbook, the product of a collaborative effort between the WCO and INTERPOL. 

Some of the other topics covered IP enforcement operations and regional and national workshops in support of IP crime enforcement, as well as continued cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and others to increase awareness of the risks and negative impacts of counterfeiting. 

Aside from the challenges faced in the enforcement of IP crime, including high-costs and the environmental impact of destroying seized counterfeit goods, participants were also informed of the WCO’s important upcoming work in the area of Free Trade Zones and E-Commerce.

The forthcoming IP event entitled “Respect for IP - Growing from the Tip of Africa International Conference”, co-organized by the WCO, INTERPOL, the World Trade Organization (WTO), WIPO and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 23 to 25 October 2018, was also announced in this forum. 

The Conference also afforded Director Hinojosa the opportunity to visit Dubai Customs Exhibition and learn more about its latest innovations, some of which were reported as having been prompted by suggestions made by field officers.  

For example, one innovation involves a female robot that can help Dubai Customs officers remove personal items from luggage owned by female travellers when female Customs Officers are not available.  This helps Customs respect sensitivities while still being able to properly inspect travellers and their belongings. 

Other innovations include the use of drones for surveillance of maritime port operations, amphibious vehicles, the use of submarine camera capabilities and multifunctional examination tables with camera facilities, non-intrusive targeted inspection capabilities, and access to data systems and scales. 

These self-generated innovations are good examples of how Customs administrations continue to look to technology to help address more effectively some of the challenges of a highly dynamic environment.