Nobody knows exactly, but probably the first counterfeit dates back since the introduction of the coin in human society. Romans made a series of counterfeits, later on called "legal", by making coins of copper silvered. Roman soldiers fighting in enemy territories were paid with these coins. If they were to be taken prisoners, they did not want to lose gold or silver this way! (...) details... In countries where democracy and market economy are currently strengthening, countries that were led by dictatorial regimes or centralized economies, freedom has lead to a real explosion on the market of services and large consume goods. Taking into account that the legislation for the protection of intellectual property rights and trademarks in these countries appears and is strengthening with time, the state's control bodies do not always manage to fight efficiently against counterfeiting. Cosmetic products, medicines, textiles, food, cellular phones, music or software CDs, spare parts for motor vehicles, these represent a multitude of counterfeited products, thrown on the market, under renowned trademarks, for attractive prices. Who is losing from the sale of these counterfeited products? (...) details...

Interview with Mr. Dan Docan


President of the Romanian Anticounterfeiting Association
 
The idea to establish an anticounterfeiting association is yours entirely. How did it take shape and how long was the road to its concretization?


By the nature of my profession, as magistrate I have always followed the unveiling of the truth. Regardless of my work place, I have publicly declared myself an enemy of forgeries and lies of any kind. Each time my attitude bothered many people! At this moment, as Managing director of the National printing House SA National Company I am more than ever involved in the fight against counterfeits. It is well known the fact that the security elements manufactured by the National Printing House are intended to stop the phenomenon of counterfeiting. In fact, as President of this company I was able to attend the International Anticounterfeiting Conference held in Atlanta, USA during January 29th – Febuary 1st, 2002. The event brought together representatives of bodies from 14 countries involved in the fight against counterfeiting. During this meeting, a representative of the American organization International Anticounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), one of the main organizers of the event, asked me what associations exist in Romania in this field. At the time, there was nothing of this kind in our country. This discussion gave birth to the idea of establishing a Romanian anticounterfeiting association. On my return home, a initiated the legal procedures and conceived the constitutive act of the Romanian Anticounterfeiting Association. Thus, the association was officially incorporated in October 2002.

Which are the primary objectives of the Romanian Anticounterfeiting Association?


The primary goal is to mobilize the efforts of the private and State sectors by creating a partnership between investors, manufacturers, consumers and authorities, in a sustainable campaign against counterfeiting, by creating a solid economic environment open to investments. Thus, we will organize meetings, seminars, and conferences on topics related to counterfeiting, we will provide consulting and public relations services to natural and legal persons for the purpose of identifying counterfeits. These are only some of the objectives also found in the constitutive act of the association.

How will you work with the Romanian institutions authorized to fight counterfeiting?


From the beginning it must be said that the Romanian Anticounterfeiting Association will not replace the investigative and legal bodies. We intend mainly to monitor and point out the eventual cases of counterfeiting. In this context we shall promote projects for normative acts in the field of counterfeiting and we will develop campaigns for people’s education. To involve the common citizen in the fight against counterfeiting, first he/she should be informed and warned on the dangers it exposes by purchasing a counterfeit product. Also, the citizen should know the real dimensions of the damages caused to our economy by counterfeiting networks. With a more severe legislation, the authorities shall have to be more active in the fight against counterfeiting. To achieve all these goals, we will cooperate with all institutions working to protect intellectual and industrial property, brands etc., as well as police bodies, Financial Guard, customs authorities and consumer protection authorities.

Which are the measures against counterfeiting taken by the other European countries?


In the European Union, brands are well protected by law, and their tradition is also respected by traders. But this has to do also with consumers’ education, which are capable to make the difference between a genuine product and a copy of it and give credit to the original label. For example, a Frenchman will never buy a counterfeited “Dior” perfume, even for a smaller price. For the French consumer it is important to respect himself. Likewise, a German citizen will never buy a counterfeited CD at the corner of the street, nor an Englishman will ever smoke cigarettes or drink beverages that are counterfeited, manufactured in some obscure and insalubrious little factory only because they are cheaper! And to really understand how things are, I will give you a single example: in Romania, trading companies established after 1990 specified the import – export of products as one of their activities, without a clear centralization of these products. In turn, the importers in the member states of the European Union are known to the public authorities and they can be found at their registered addresses. At the moment, in Romania, a wide range of products may be imported on basis of a “Declaration of Conformity” given by the importer, confirming that the imported product complies with his specifications, or if they have the CE marking applied on. However, numerous products carrying this marking were found on the market, but the majority of them are counterfeited. It is certain that approximately 80% of the large international companies are affected by counterfeiting and they have to spend large amounts of money to fight these practices.

 


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