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Mon 16 Dec 2013 01:52 PM

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'Buying fake goods should be criminal offence': top Dubai cop

Major General in charge of combating counterfeit market supports tougher action on consumer crimes

'Buying fake goods should be criminal offence': top Dubai cop

A top Dubai Police officer has said he supports making it illegal to purchase fake goods such as handbags, watches and pharmaceuticals, in a move that could force areas such as Karama to shutdown.

Head of quality control at Dubai Police, Major General Abdul Quddus Abdul Razak Obaidli, told Arabian Business customers who know they are buying counterfeit products should be fined similarly to those selling the goods.

“It’s illegal to have the goods in your premises in order to sell it, but when you’re buying [the fake goods] it’s legal,” Obaidli said.

“And if you ask me for my personal opinion, why not [fine the customer too]? If they are buying a good and they know this is a counterfeit product, why not [punish them] similar to copyright law?”

Items such as copied DVDs, music and books are illegal under counterfeit legislation that makes it a criminal offence to either sell or copy others’ intellectual property.

However, fake items such as handbags, watches and electronic goods are governed under trademark law, which states it is only illegal to sell or manufacture such products.

Obaidli said despite it being legal to purchase fake goods, Dubai Police were targeting the customer in a bid to draw awareness to the impact of counterfeit items on the economy and respective industries, as well as potential health and security effects.

A campaign launched last year called Fingerprint appeals to the public’s morality, encouraging them to “do the right thing”.

“It’s awareness, awareness, awareness, focus on stopping the customer from buying the products,” Obaidli said.

“If there is supply of counterfeit products [but] there is no customer that [industry] will be destroyed, that is the only way we are talking about [dealing with the issue].”

Dubai’s Karama area is infamous for selling fake goods as varied as sunglasses, flip flops and souvenirs to high-end leather handbags, while some stores at the Chinese hypermarket Dragon Mart, in International City, also are known to have sold counterfeit goods.

Obaidli defended Dubai Police’s record of raiding known counterfeit sellers, emphasising the customers’ responsibility not to shop there.

He said the UAE copyright, trademark and patent legislation were among the best in the region.

“The law is at an international level, so we don’t have a problem with the law. We will focus purely now on the people to raise the awareness of counterfeit products,” he said.

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nice 6 years ago

They know where this stuff is being sold. They could easily deal with this by hitting the sellers hard and regularly. Criminalising buying implies that the customer always knows its knock-off - fine if its a 50 dirham rolex but less clear with some clothing i would think.

Jameel ahmed 6 years ago

Oh At last... almost every shop in Dubai is selling fake goods with packaging as good as branded and trillions in money is being taken from the customers in the name of original or branded.. we dont know where to buy the original goods because even the best shops in UAE are cheating to customers.. they very well know that most of the customers are visitors and they will not comeback neither they can complaint... i myself very careful but when buying things but still get caught somehow. if the government does not stop this soon.. this will become like a virus and will never stop... there should be one government website where people can post the name of the seller of fake goods and police then can catch them easily

maria 6 years ago

some people can't afford to buy the originals which are very costly, so they sort to imitations which usually looks like originals and it's their own choice to buy the fake so why stop them? They also want to have branded name even if it's a duplicate one.

Andy 6 years ago

As for the previous comment yes they know exactly where these goods are sold they often raid such premises remove all the stock worth hundreds of thousands of dirhams however the next day the shop is re- stocked again, also they will go into certain shops and only remove certain fake goods but leave other fake merchandise for them to sell if they want to why not just shut all the shops down its all good for tourism that's why

PPM 6 years ago

Importers and Sellers have sponsors. Sponsors have "wasta".... Officials will get a lot less flak if they scare away the buyers rather than if they take on the document forging importers or the customer fleecing vendors.
This guy is just exploring a way to keep foreign copyright protection lawyers out of his waiting room without making too many headaches for himself. Understandable.

Jack Jones 6 years ago

I think they will need to close Dragonmart then.

HDee 6 years ago

It's a very good 'think' that the QC Police wants to do.
But, at the same time, it would also be possible for them
to keep a check and control the import of such items.

Doug 6 years ago

Because it eats into the profits of the legitimate brands who have often spent a lot on design, marketing and production, and also cheapens their brand value. Imagine if you were doing your job, someone stole your work and got paid for it and you didn't. Would you stand for it?

Do you not understand the principles behind copyright and commerce? If you can't afford a product, what makes you think you should be allowed to have it?

Melanie 6 years ago

Are they going to stop people and ask for receipts?

Monkey business 6 years ago

Yes PPM, just throw the hot patato on small fish but avoid dealing with the real issue. The guys who improt and have local sponsor who have wasta. Just another joke in the internal legal system. A fake law to be bought by lawyers? is this punishable by the new law?