UAE jails 6 over parallel imports
Dubai, October 12, 2009
Dubai Courts, in a landmark ruling, sentenced six foreign nationals to jail for engaging in ‘parallel imports’ - importing a non-counterfeit (grey) product from another country without the permission of the intellectual property owner.
The ruling marks the first imprisonment for parallel imports in the Middle East and reaffirms Emirates’ status as safest Arab business venue in terms of IPR protection, said a statement.
The ruling followed a raid by authorities against a major parallel importer in Dubai, which led to the confiscation of thousands of DVDs containing banned titles. Six persons including the shop manager were arrested, with the manager sentenced to two months in prison, a fine of Dh20,000 ($5,445) and deportation.
Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz Alshihhi, general manager of the UAE Ministry of Economy, said: “Our overriding objective is to improve the competitiveness of the UAE market while ensuring that the interests of the intellectual property rights owners are protected.'
'While this landmark court ruling has underlined the UAE’s position as the safest business hub in the Middle East, it also reflects the country’s stringent stance on piracy,” he noted.
'The UAE is among the top countries that adopt the latest anti-piracy techniques, thanks to the exemplary cooperation between the various local and federal authorities concerned which kept abreast of all the latest techniques adopted by pirates and responded swiftly to tackle them effectively,' Alshihhi observed.
The country’s relentless efforts to protect property rights, including steps taken to confiscate counterfeit products and levy criminal charges on IPR violators have also contributed to making the UAE the regional leader in fighting piracy,” he added.
“This was a complicated case which involved a lot of co-ordination between AAA, government and undercover police. The result is very much worth it, however, and serves as a strong precedent against parallel imports which we can expect to further reduce this type of IPR crime,” said Scott Butler, CEO of Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance.
Ola Khudair, deputy CEO, Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance, said: 'Thanks to the combined efforts of its Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Information, and police, the UAE has once again reaffirmed its status as a leading anti-piracy advocate in the Arab world.'
'While other countries in the region opt to minimally fine major copyright offenders, the country has decided to adopt penalties which can more effectively deter intellectual property rights (IPR) violations,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service