The IPKat has just (this morning) noticed this announcement from the UK-IPO about World Counterfeiting day 2008. It is dated yesterday (17 June), and says in part:
"World Anti-Counterfeiting Day seeks to highlight the serious threat posed by Intellectual Property Crime (IPC). Counterfeiting and piracy of trade marked and copyrighted [sic] products and services damages legitimate businesses and puts consumers at risk.
The global intellectual property (IP) crime market has been estimated as worth in excess of US$ 200 billion per year. Criminals are targeting a wide range of products including designer clothing, music and films, luxury and electrical goods, toys, alcohol and cigarettes. For example the cost to UK taxpayers of counterfeit cigarettes alone was £2.9billion in 2006."
The IPKat was intrigued by this, and wanted to find out more. However, there was no mention of what this special day was actually about on the UK-IPO site, nor was there any detail on the relevant bit of the WIPO website, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group website, or even that of the organisation that apparently founded the day, the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group (which is not even viewable using Firefox; the IPKat had to use Internet Explorer instead to see what it had to say, which was not very much). The IPKat was not even sure whether anything was actually happening until he spotted this article from the Cardiff Council website, which mentioned "awareness" events being held in Cardiff and Manchester yesterday. The IPKat is very sorry that he was unable to let his readers know in advance about these important events, which he is sure many of his readers would have very much like to have attended.
All this seems to the IPKat to be a particularly poor show. If counterfeits are such a dramatic worldwide threat, which we are led to believe, then why is practically nothing apparently being done publicly on this special day? The IPKat also wonders what the figure of £2.9 billion above actually refers to. Are counterfeiters actually going to the bother of making and selling fake cigarettes, or is this just a creative re-allocation of the common problem resulting from very high UK taxes on fags combined with the ease of parallel importing?