JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch (CTOC) has seized $1.5 billion worth of items found in breach of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), over the past 12 months.
  • “Persons usually say there is no use in protecting their rights, because there is no enforcement. This is enforcement in action, so if you take the necessary precautions by registering your intellectual property at JIPO, when someone infringes those rights, it is easy to bring a cause of action against them,”
  • Local law enforcement efforts receive international support from the International Crime Police Organization (INTERPOL) and European Police office (EUROPOL).

The Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch (CTOC) has seized $1.5 billion worth of items found in breach of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), over the past 12 months.

Deputy Commander of CTOC, Senior Superintendent Clifford Chambers, said that the items seized resulted from 32 major operations conducted islandwide, which led to 112 interviews, 25 arrests for serious IPR breaches and 12 convictions.

Some of the items recovered include over  six million CDs, DVDs, 33,000 counterfeit footwear,  25,000 pieces of apparel, counterfeit cigarettes, bleaching cream, T-shirts, rum and handbags.

“The items seized were manufactured predominantly in Asian countries and distributed on an industrial scale to Jamaica, with complete disregard for the health and safety of the consumers,” SSP Chambers said.

He was speaking at a media briefing, held on April 28,  at  CTOC headquarters, Ocean Boulevard, downtown Kingston.

The Senior Superintendent noted that the Courts ordered that the items be destroyed.

He emphasised  that Intellectual Property (IP) theft is a serious international crime that has reached epidemic proportions and continues to grow successively each year.

 

“IP theft robs billions from the Jamaican economy and places the health and safety of consumers at risk. In addition, it funds organized crime. Today, virtually no product is too obscure or insignificant for the counterfeiters, and no industry is immune to this illegal activity,” SSP Chambers said.

He added that there is a direct link between transnational organized crime and  the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit products, which generates billions annually.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), Lilyclaire Bellamy, issued a reminder to the public that property rights holders are protected by laws.

“Persons usually say there is no use in protecting their rights, because there is no enforcement. This is enforcement in action, so if you take the necessary precautions by registering your intellectual property at JIPO, when someone infringes those rights, it is easy to bring a cause of action against them,” she said.

For his part, Deputy Commissioner of Border Protection at Jamaica Customs Agency, Alwyn Nicely,  commended JIPO on the work they have been doing, as they culminate the observance of Intellectual Property Rights Week (April 22 to 29).

“As part of the Jamaica Customs Agency’s mandate to protect the borders, it also has to do with the economic protection of the island. IPR is often seen as a victimless crime and that is quite the opposite. We have to date seized and destroyed $523 million worth of goods. These items range from illicit cigarettes to apparel and it also includes pharmaceuticals,” he said.

“We will be improving our enforcement efforts jointly with the Jamaica Constabulary Force, to conduct more operations in an effort to eliminate the scourge. The JCA pledges its full commitment to the process,” he added.

Local law enforcement efforts receive international support from the International Crime Police Organization (INTERPOL) and European Police office (EUROPOL).

The local partners include JIPO, Bureau of Standards Jamaica, JCA, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ministry of Health, Jamaica Coffee Board as well as some private sector entities.

Skip to content