The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai confiscated 67.7 million pieces of counterfeit goods worth approximately AED 1.16 billion in 2016. The number of items confiscated in 2016 was seven per cent higher than the 63.3 million pieces unearthed in 2015 and the corresponding increase in estimated value of the goods was 15% (AED1.01 billion).
The confiscation followed intensified efforts by the Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in DED to protect intellectual property and eliminate commercial fraud in line with the growing reputation of Dubai as a global business hub and destination for world-leading brands.
Mobile phones topped the list of confiscated goods in 2016 - 43% of the total - with 14.6 million pieces worth around AED 429 million. Accessories stood second with 11.4 million pieces worth over AED 130 million, followed by 6.2 million pieces of cosmetics worth AED 105 million. Construction materials (7.7 million pieces valued at AED 42.9 million) as well as 7.6 million pieces of tobacco and smoking materials worth AED 1.7 million were also part of the confiscated goods.
Mohammed Rashed Ali Lootah, CEO of CCCP, stated that DED has achieved a qualitative leap in its ensuring commercial compliance during 2016 as is reflected in the number of counterfeit goods confiscated. “It shows the level of focus and alertness that the Department of Economic Development maintains in upholding the rights of trademark owners by confiscating and destroying counterfeits on one hand and on the other, in safeguarding the physical and financial health of consumers.”
Lootah said eliminating counterfeits is part of the strategic objectives of DED to protect consumers from the risks posed by such products, honour the rights of brand owners and facilitate sustainable investment. Cleansing of counterfeits from the local market the local market is integral to reinforcing Dubai as a competitive and sustainable business and investment destination, he added.
Ibrahim Behzad, Director of Intellectual Property Rights Management in DED, said that counterfeit products that have been seized so far also included duplicates of well-known brands of gaming equipment, automotive parts, medical equipment, stationery and office products, packaging material, household items, sports equipment, electronic and electrical appliances, perfumes, sunglasses, clothing, bags, leather goods, food products, watches, shoes, inks, bed linen, tablets and computers.
"We maintain round-the-clock vigil to protect intellectual property and do random inspections, field visits and investigation to detect counterfeits. Our team collaborates with public and private sector partners and conducts awareness campaigns among traders to alert them on the dangers of counterfeiting. We also urge businesses and investors to register their brands to guard against any infringement and we participate in seminars to introduce the role and mandate of the Department of Economic Development in ensuring commercial compliance and consumer protection,” said Behzad.
Behzad also called on consumers not to fall prey to unscrupulous merchants and their offers of discounted prices on counterfeits. Counterfeits have various drawbacks compared to the original in terms of utility and durability and often prove to be harmful to human health as well as the environment. Consumers can report any such harmful practices that come to their attention to the Ahlan Dubai number 600 54 5555 or through Twitter hashtag @Dubai_consumers.