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INTA Bulletin


January 15, 2017 Vol. 72 No. 1 Back to Bulletin Main Page

INTA Anticounterfeiting Conference: Learn How Brands, Platforms, and Governments Are Staying Ahead of the Curve


INTA will host a two-day anticounterfeiting conference, titled “Staying Ahead of the Curve,” in Hong Kong SAR, China from February 6–7, 2017. Co-chaired by Sharmini Lohadhasan (BP, Singapore) and Heather McDonald (Baker & Hostetler LLP, USA), the goal was to make sure “this was not a typical conference about anticounterfeiting, but one where people will get a practical view of the real life issues on the ground, at both an operational level and a policy one,” says Ms. Lohadhasan.

A qualified solicitor who has worked for BP in Singapore for more than 15 years, Ms. Lohadhasan is well-versed in the challenges facing brands when it comes to counterfeits, particularly in the emerging markets of Asia. But Ms. Lohadhasan hopes that registrants of the anticounterfeiting conference will walk away with a deeper understanding of the perspective of all stakeholders involved in the anticounterfeiting conversation. “It’s not just about brands, or just about platforms, or just about governments—it’s a collective effort,” says Ms. Lohadhasan.

Ms. Lohadhasan spoke with the INTA Bulletin about some of the highlights the conference will cover and what registrants can expect to take away.

What was the vision for this conference? 
When Heather and I had initial discussions, one of the things we agreed on was that it should not be a typical conference on anticounterfeiting. We wanted it to be one where people could get a practical view of the real life issues on the ground at both an operational level and a policy one. Hopefully, people will go away with the view that they have a solution to a challenge they’re currently facing, or they’ll be thinking about what steps to take next. We want to start a dialogue during the conference with speakers and registrants, but also encourage participants to continue that dialogue beyond the conference.

What is the significance of hosting the conference in Asia? 
Asia is a growth region; it has been for the last five years. It’s also a crossroads I think, where you have a country like China that’s developed in many ways in the e-commerce space, but you also have Southeast Asia, which is still developing in that space. It’s the dynamic between these various jurisdictions—not just China and Southeast Asia, but others as well, like Japan and Korea, for instance—where you have mature jurisdictions and developing ones grappling with very similar issues.

What are some of the highlights you’re looking forward to? 
Etienne Sanz de Acedo, INTA CEO, and Jeffrey P. Hardy, Director, ICC BASCAP, will announce the new BASCAP/INTA report, “The Economic Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy.” This new study, conducted by Frontier Economics, examines the global economic and social impacts of counterfeiting and piracy.

I’m looking forward to Session III—“Investigations and Enforcement in Emerging Markets.” One of the challenges for brands in an emerging market is finding a good investigation agency, and one that would comply with global anti-bribery regulations. These things are key to ensuring that we have clean, ethical investigations. The session will also discuss how to ensure a quality investigation by any standards; it will be interesting to find out and better understand some of the challenges, how they are being addressed, and how to manage them when entering an emerging market.

I’m also looking forward to Session VI—“The Dangers of Counterfeits: Getting Consumers to Join the Fight,” where Christopher Clague of The Economist Group will talk about a report by The Economist highlighting the dangers of counterfeits—it is real. We also hope to learn the extent of resourcing required to ensure your company is able to deal with these issues in an effective manner. It’s not just an issue for corporations, but for everybody.

Last but not least, Session VII—“Technology and Counterfeits,” and “Counterfeiting in Cyberspace: The Who, What, and How of Effective Enforcement,” will both be quite interesting. I’m especially looking forward to learning about how organizations are using technology to track and verify their goods.

On day two of the conference, there are a series of sessions with different stakeholders—brands, platforms, and government. What is the goal of that series? 
The brick and mortar business may not be entirely gone, but with e-commerce, you’ve got this new space where everyone is conducting their business. These sessions will help people to better understand that space, the issues and challenges, and how they’ve been addressed. In the first session, brand owners will share how they address some of the challenges, and I think we’ll find that, in many cases, it’s a long-term solution instead of a quick fix. Then, we move on to meet with the platforms—it is a challenging environment for them too, and it will be good to hear about the processes in place to address some of the difficulties and what they see ahead of the curve moving forward. Last but not least, we’ll hear about the support and good work the various government agencies have been lending and what they believe needs to be done by us all to move forward.

Has the relationship among these three stakeholder groups become more cooperative through the years? 
It varies from country to country, but what we hope to highlight is that there is a need for these three groups to talk to each other; it’s almost like a tripartite relationship. They need to be able to talk to each other to address the issues that arise on a daily basis.

What types of insight do you expect registrants will walk away from the conference with? 
We hope people will have a better understanding of the challenges of operating within an emerging economy. And with respect to cyberspace, we hope people will walk away with a fundamental understanding of the relationship among the three groups of stakeholders—that it’s not just about one group or the other, but a collective effort, where everyone needs to pitch in to address the constant challenges that arise within this space.

For more information on INTA’s Anticounterfeiting Conference: “Staying Ahead of the Curve,” contact Dolores Moro, INTA Senior Strategist, Education, at DMoro@inta.org, or visit the conference page to register now.

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