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Sun 17 Dec 2006 04:00 AM

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Officials back fight against fake goods

High-ranking officials have pledged their support to the Brand Owners' Protection Group (BPG), which was formed by manufacturers to fight counterfeit goods in the Middle East.

High-ranking officials have pledged their support to the Brand Owners' Protection Group (BPG), which was formed by manufacturers to fight counterfeit goods in the Middle East.

Speaking at the World Intellectual Property Organisation sub-regional workshop in Dubai, Ahmed Butti, director general of Dubai Customs, said: "The Dubai Government is keen to tackle issues related to the protection of IP rights and fight the counterfeit menace. We are eager to support any private sector initiative in this regard."

Companies such as BMW, Johnson & Johnson and Nestlé joined forces to form the BPG this year. FMCG giant Unilever, whose brands include Dove and Lipton, has seized and destroyed US$70 million worth of counterfeit and illicit products in the GCC in the past five years. The business can fund organised crime and terrorism.

Omar Shteiwi, chairman of the board of the BPG and regional intellectual property advisor, Nestlé Middle East, said: "With the coming together of all these organisations, we are optimistic we can move forward swiftly to tackle the illicit trade and counterfeiting issues more effectively."

The French Minister for External Trade, Christine Lagarde, told the meeting that local stakeholders need to support each other in any anti-counterfeit campaigns.