Against a backdrop of new trends in intellectual property crime and illicit trade, the 10th edition of INTERPOL’s Regional Intellectual Property (IP) Crime Conference for the Middle East and North Africa brought together law enforcement and industry experts to discuss joint challenges and strategies in the region.
Attending the conference (13-14 December) were representatives from police, customs, regulatory authorities, government bodies and the private sector from the Middle East and North Africa region, united in the aim of building cross-sector partnerships, sharing knowledge, and promoting law enforcement operations through cooperation and optimization of expertise and resources.
Around 250 participants took part in the hybrid event – in person in Dubai or online – representing several countries in the region, among them Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates.
Opportunity, mobility, sustainability
Conference discussions mirrored the theme of the Dubai Expo 2020: “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” and, in particular, its three sub-themes: “opportunity”, “mobility” and “sustainability”.
Recognizing the importance of international cooperation and consensus to succeed, delegates agreed on the need to focus on opportunities to improve cross-sector working, mobilize joint resources and ensure a sustainable impact in the fight against illicit trade.
Agenda items included the evolving threats in IP crime – such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergence of new criminal business models, and the rise of the digital economy – and delegates discussed a broad range of ways to adapt. Responses include the adoption of new technology, empowering women in fighting IP crime, and addressing environmental concerns created by IP crime.
Law enforcement capacity building is central to activities in the region, and is supported by the International Intellectual Property Crime Investigators College (IIPCIC). New modules are published regularly on this online platform, including the recent course on Understanding Cryptocurrency-Related IP Crime, and many are available in Arabic as well as English, French, Spanish Portuguese and Mandarin.
The 10th Regional IP Crime Conference for the Middle East and North Africa was co-hosted by INTERPOL and the Dubai Police and Emirates IP Association (EIPA), in cooperation with the UAE Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Economy, Dubai Customs and the Brand Owners’ Protection Group (Gulf BPG).