Intellectual property crime is not victimless crime.
Such crimes pose severe risks to consumer health and safety, have serious economic consequences, and fund transnational organised crime.
This caution to Barbadians has come from Warren MacInnis, a director of Anti-Counterfeiting Operations with Underwriters Laboratories, and one of the presenters at the upcoming 34th annual Crime Stoppers International Conference.
MacInnis admitted that intellectual property crime, in many cases, is a low priority for many governments, given the nature of other priorities for law enforcement agencies around the world. However, despite this, MacInnis noted that trade mark counterfeiting and copyright piracy should still be considered serious offenses.
“Intellectual property crime impacts everyone, puts the health and safety of consumers at risk, funds organised crime and robs billions from the global economy. No one is immune from this crime and even small economies should be concerned about how it impacts their tax base or affects the bottom line of profitability for companies which will affect employment,” he said.
Drawing an example that is close to home, MacInnis noted that his organisation has worked with authorities in Trinidad and Tobago on counterfeit electrical products, such as seasonal decorative lighting, which can provide risks to consumers and their property.
He encouraged Barbadian law enforcement agencies to engage in global partnerships and initiatives to combat intellectual property crime, such as INTERPOL and the annual International Law Enforcement IP Crime Conference, or receive training from the International IP Crime Investigators College, which offers free courses to law enforcement personnel.
MacInnis will be speaking on “The magnitude of IP Crimes globally” when he addresses the Crime Stoppers conference on October 1.