WCO regional workshop on IPR border enforcement for the MENA region

08 March 2024

From 3 to 7 March 2024, the World Customs Organization (WCO) organized a regional workshop for the WCO North of Africa, Near and Middle East (MENA) region on border enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in Doha, Qatar, with the financial support of the Qatar Customs Authority.

The workshop, held at the WCO Regional Training Centre (RTC), brought together frontline supervisors and officers with experience in IPR enforcement and risk management from the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. 

During the five-day workshop, participants learned about the global IPR infringement landscape over the past year, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the theoretical and practical concepts surrounding IPR risk management, the WCO IPR CENcomm secure communication tool, and how to conduct an online investigation. 

The workshop was led by an IPR Expert from the WCO Secretariat, with the assistance of two pre-accredited IPR Technical and Operational Advisers.

At the official opening of the workshop, the Assistant Chairman of the Qatar Customs Authority for Support Services Affairs Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Al Maadeed, welcomed the initiative and thanked the WCO Secretariat for its support in organizing this event with a view to protecting IPR in the MENA region. He went on to say that Qatar Customs, the host of a WCO RTC, wished to reiterate its support for capacity-building activities, especially in the fight against counterfeit and pirated goods which undermined national economies and threatened the health and safety of citizens. He concluded by urging participants to participate actively in the workshop and share their experiences, so as to develop greater regional synergy in the protection of IPR.

The second day of the workshop was given over to presentations by the private sector. Some 16 rights holders, representing a variety of brands, delivered presentations on the essential characteristics of products bearing their trademarks and demonstrated the techniques that can be used by Customs officers to detect counterfeit goods.

In addition, a closed session solely for Customs officers focused on risk management and targeting techniques used to combat IPR infringements. This session provided an opportunity to promote a new tool developed by the WCO, namely "Case studies and risk indicators to identify IPR, health and safety infringing goods related to e-commerce”, aimed at raising Customs officers’ awareness of counterfeit goods sold through e-commerce.

The participants also visited the Port of Hamad, where they were able to put their newly acquired skills in counterfeit product detection and their theoretical knowledge of targeting and risk management into practice through a range of practical exercises.

This workshop forms part of the implementation of the WCO IPR Strategy, which was approved by the Enforcement Committee at its 41st Session. Indeed, capacity-building activities remain one of the core components of the Strategy.

For further details of the activities carried out in the area of IPR protection, please contact us at: IPRteam@wcoomd.org.