Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) crime – copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting – is a growing international phenomenon that generates huge losses for legitimate industry, the economy and the Government of Canada.
According to Interpol, this type of crime has confirmed links to organized crime and terrorism. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and other Canadian law enforcement agencies are committed to undertaking coordinated action to counter the threats posed by IP crime.
- Under the Copyright Act, the maximum penalties for unauthorized manufacturing, importation or distribution of copyrighted products are a $1 million fine and five years in prison.
Counterfeit Goods Now More Dangerous
- Counterfeit products are now much more diverse than they used to be and often involve serious, even potentially deadly, health and safety risks.
- Counterfeit electrical products, pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, and food products have entered the Canadian market.
- Unlike in the past, Canadian consumers now frequently fail to realize that they are purchasing counterfeit goods. The criminals producing these products put so much effort into disguising a product’s appearance that it can be very difficult to determine whether or not a product is genuine.
- Since counterfeiters spend no money on research and development, marketing, taxes or quality control, they operate with huge profit margins and can therefore offer their goods at what appear to be bargain prices.
Addressing the Problem
- To truly stem the flow of counterfeit goods entering Canada and to protect the Canadian public, the RCMP and its partners need the cooperation of private industry and the general public.
- Copyright holders are encouraged to monitor the marketplace and take legal civil action against retailers that are involved in pirating and counterfeiting their products.
- If it is suspected that the piracy or counterfeiting is being conducted on a commercial scale by importers, manufacturers or wholesale distributors, the matter should be reported to the RCMP.
- The RCMP is particularly interested in situations where criminal organizations are believed to be linked to the illegal distribution of counterfeit goods, or if the goods pose a serious threat to public health or safety. In order to identify pirated or counterfeit goods, and to effectively facilitate court processes, the full cooperation of rights holders is required.
- The general public should understand that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Consumers are encouraged to report suspected pirated or counterfeited goods to the company that owns the rights to the product so the company may take appropriate action.