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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Saudi intellectual property authority confiscates, destroys millions of products in violation of laws
JEDDAH: The Saudi Authority of Intellectual Property (SAIP) announced that it has confiscated and destroyed more than 5.5 million items in 2020 that were found to be violating the country’s intellectual property (IP) regulations.
“These items included pirated DVDs, CDs and books; and illegal desktops, laptops, hard disks, memory chips, TV satellite boxes and CD-copying devices. We also cooperated with Saudi Customs to seize and destroy more than 2 million counterfeited products. These included shoes, clothes, mobile accessories, sanitary ware and car filters, all bearing well-known trademarks from major international companies,” said Yasser Al-Debassi, executive director of IP Respect at SAIP.
SAIP seeks to improve the protection of IP by developing its enforcement system, ensuring the quality of its operations and increasing transparency between itself and the private sector.
In its recently released 2020 report, SAIP said that it had received 67 cases directly from plaintiffs, who reported their complaints to the authority.
It added that 115 cases were conducted through inspection visits to websites. Over 300 cases were conducted through other online inspections, while 42 cases were referred to SAIP by the Ministry of Media.
The report revealed that most of the IP infringements occurred in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, with a rate of 61 percent. Makkah ranked second with 24 percent, while the Eastern Province came third with 14 percent.
The remaining 9 percent of violations took place in other Saudi cities. However, the report said, some complaints were dismissed for “uncompleted requirements.”
The report added that most cases were art-related, involving the infringement of rights for photographs, audio, videos, and designs. Literary cases and research formed 25 percent of the total number of cases, while software infringement cases reached 12 percent.
a responded to more than 5,790 emails and phone calls, reporting violations through its different communication channels.
It confirmed in its report that 119 resolutions were issued by the copyright committee, assigned to review violations of the copyright law.
“The IP Respect surveillance team has visited and examined over 1,350 websites and detected 308 violated websites. It filed the cases to the Permanent Internet Committee, who ruled that these websites be blocked,” Al-Debassi told Arab News. “Fines of more than SR255,000 ($68,000) were imposed on the violators. The violations ranged from literary works to sports TV broadcasting.”
The authority launched online inspection campaigns to block the websites, which, without permission from right owners, either posted copyrighted photos and graphics on social media platforms; exhibited copies of copyrighted books and magazines; and allowed for the viewing and download of copyrighted series, movies or pirated software.
SAIP also launched copyright-enforcement campaigns in Riyadh, Makkah, Jeddah, Dammam, Alkhobar, and Al-Ahsa, with the aim of stopping all infringement activities and copyright-related violations in computer software and programs, satellite broadcasting, and printed or audiovisual materials.
The sectors targeted by the campaigns included video, electronics, computer maintenance and students’ services stores, which provide document-copying services.
“SAIP is currently working on tracking new piracy trends and addressing the challenges facing industries. It is doing its best to ensure compliance with IP laws and regulations in the Kingdom in order to maintain an attractive business environment,” Al-Debassi said.
SAIP has launched a number of initiatives at the national level, including a national enforcement committee for IP.
It is also working closely with its partners in the private sector, global associations and IP protection offices to fight piracy.
“SAIP has partnered with right holders to combat counterfeiting. We have conducted meetings with our partners from tech companies, such as Microsoft, to discuss the latest methods of piracy for its software and operating systems. The authority has also met with media company OSN to discuss the challenge of illegal Internet Protocol television boxes and subscriptions,” Al-Debassi added.
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