JAPAN TARGETS COUNTERFEIT MANUFACTURERS
March 30 2006.
Leading Japanese newspaper The Nihon Keizai Shimbun has reported that Japan's proposal to root out counterfeit products is expected to serve as the basis for an international treaty under which ratifying countries would be required to ban exports of the illicit goods and close down production facilities.
"The Japanese government will today submit  a proposed draft of the treaty at a Group of Eight meeting in Moscow of intellectual property experts. The G-8 nations have been holding working-level talks toward drawing up a treaty since the start of the year. This draft is to serve as a basis for hammering out the details ahead of the summit.
An agreement to draft a global treaty aimed at eliminating imitations, such as fake luxury brand goods and pirated CDs, is expected to be reached at July's G-8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. Japan hopes that a treaty can be hammered out by 2008.
Knockoffs of brand-name goods, copies of copyrighted material such as CDs and DVDs, and motorcycles and consumer electronics that imitate those of major manufacturers are rampant in such nations as China. With total transactions involving such goods estimated at 65 trillion yen a year around the world, corporations based in the G-8 countries are said to be suffering massive lost profits.
Under the proposed draft, countries that ratify the treaty will be obligated to stop exports of pirated goods and imitations, destroy production facilities to prevent recurrences when knockoffs are discovered, and engage in educational activities to stop people from buying imitations.
The TRIPS (trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights) agreement laid down by the World Trade Organization is a multilateral framework to protect intellectual property rights. While this agreement bans the importation of imitations and pirated goods by clarifying the scope of rights for registered designs and patents, it does not offer steps to prevent recurrences or international rules regarding exportation.
At the G-8 summit and other venues, the industrialized nations will call for putting the treaty into effect soon, pointing out that profits from imitations are funding international terrorist organizations and that counterfeit medicines are endangering lives.
After the summit, the G-8 nations hope to gain the cooperation of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member states. A specialized section will then be created within the OECD to work on the treaty, after which a treaty proposal can be put to a vote. The G-8 countries plan to urge China and other developing nations to participate in its drafting and ratification."

Source: The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Thursday morning edition