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In the modern world, people pay much attention to the ideas and subjects they create. To avoid the cases of plagiarism or stealing, the citizens of Dubai, as well as the citizens of other countries, introduce various intellectual property rights and rely on them to underline the uniqueness of products and the authorship of ideas. In this paper, the activities of Dubai Customs, a leading government department that aims at enhancing sustainable development and encouraging Dubai’s image worldwide (Dubai Customs, 2016), will be investigated in order to clarify what intellectual property means, why intellectual property rights are developed, and if there are some legal concerns and risks for people, who use fake products.
Intellectual property rights help to keep order and provide people with confidence that their creations and developments could be protected against unfavorable sales, exchanges, borrowings, and thefts.
The report is based on the fact that Dubai Customs inspectors detected 93 seizures of a fake product during the first half of 2016. The worth of the products was calculated in more than 38 million AED. As a rule, the products were seized because they were identified as copies of brand name products and the brands that made original products. Such numbers prove that Dubai is the country that takes care of its intellectual property and does everything possible to protect its people against fake products that could harm people, deprive original products of their actual worth, and influence the economic development of the country.
In this report, it is enough to understand the reasons why people want to produce and fake products. It is important to explain what risks could occur in case fake products are used by people, and how Dubai Customs could handle the cases.
The essence of Intellectual Property
According to Dubai Customs (2015), intellectual property is “the product of the human intellect including creativity concepts, inventions, industrial models, trademarks, songs, literature, symbols, names, brands,… etc.” (p.16). It could be divided into two main categories. On the one hand, there are examples of industrial property including inventions and designs. On the other hand, there are examples of art (copyright) property including drawings, paintings, poems, novels, and architectural designs. However, the list of forms of intellectual property is long indeed, and the only factor all of them could share in common is the possibility to establish property protection of all intangible things (Bently & Sherman 2014).
The peculiar feature of intellectual property is that some people try to do everything possible to protect it and make sure that no one else could get it and use it in a wrong way, and some people continue ignoring the worth of their intellectual property and neglecting rights and laws that could be used to protect their creations. Though the intellectual property is an old concept used in the middle of the 15th century (Dubai Customs 2015), the protection of intellectual property rights continues developing.
Dubai Customs is one of the organizations that raise the question of intellectual property and develop the activities that could be offered to ordinary people and to the organizations that want to protect their properties and rights. People should understand that the concept of intellectual property cannot be neglected, and it is important to learn the rights and laws applicable to the field.
Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual property rights are created in the same way other property rights were. Norman (2014) underlines that intellectual property rights are proprietary in their nature so that they could be bought or sold, mortgaged or licensed, accepted, or neglected. As soon as intellectual property rights are introduced in the country, all innovators, creators, brand owners, and copyright holders could benefit from their works and make sure that other people cannot use their products without permission or taking another legal step that has to be approved by the government. This type of rights also provides people with confidence and support that the government appreciates their work and is ready to protect each piece of unique information and unique product.
Intellectual property rights could be divided in regard to the type of property that has to be protected. There are trademarks that individualize goods/services of a particular organization. There are geographical indications when certain attention is paid to the geographical area of a product. Patents are the rights to prevent different people from using products created by others. Trade names and secrets include the rights to protect commercial information.
In the case under consideration, when a number of copies of famous brands were seized, it is possible to say that the violation of the trademark right occurred. It means that a certain organization, e.g. Gucci, has already individualized its products and distinguishes them from those of competitors. Fake products were used as evidence that a famous original brand was copied and used to be sold. Such copies are usually defined as illegal and even immoral in Dubai and many other countries.
Steps to Handle with Fake Products’ Cases
Day by day, Dubai Customs checks the work of all customs centers across all land, sea, and air. Before actual checks occur, the staff has to be properly trained. It is not enough to learn how to identify a fake product and know how to behave with a violator. Dubai Customs focuses on different aspects of the work: its employees get the required portion of theoretical knowledge, take into consideration the ethical and legal aspects, and use personal evaluations to choose an appropriate decision.
The process of seizure is not complicated. Fake items are identified with the help of X-ray scanners and personal inspections and confiscated by the special Dubai Customs department (The National Staff, 2014). Besides, the company tries to use the latest technological developments in order to handle a number of fake products. For example, in 2015, a special smart bag for inspections was introduced in the airports (Shaaban 2016). The inspectors were provided with all necessary toolkits in order to inspect passengers’ luggage in a safe and effective way.
Risks of Using Fake Products
The risks of using fake products remain to be an open topic for discussion in Dubai. Though there is no law that violates the usage of fake products such as watches, handbags, or pharmaceuticals, the citizens of Dubai focus on the way fake products could be delivered to customers. So that it is legal to buy fake products, and no risks occur when people use fake products except some kind of personal dissatisfaction or awareness of the fact that a product is fake.
Still, it is illegal to sell fake products or be defined as a person, who is going to sell a fake product. At this moment, the government and police of Dubai make numerous attempts to prove that the distribution of fake products should not be supported by the citizens of Dubai and that fake product usage should be proved as an illegal practice.
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In general, the evaluation of the current situation with intellectual property rights in Dubai shows that the government and police take care of its citizens and promote their awareness of the risks of using fake products. It is possible to be accused of selling fake products. Still, people are free to buy and own various fake products. As soon as they are aware of evident fakes, they are free to make their decisions and use the products of different quality.
Therefore, the solution that could be offered to the citizens, the government, and organizations like Dubai Customs is to improve the level of awareness of the threats of fake products and the worth of using original products. This solution is the best option in this situation because it is executable, and people could hardly argue about its effects because they are free to choose and explain their attitudes to the issue of fake products.
Bently, L & Sherman, B 2014, Intellectual property law, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Dubai Customs 2015, Dubai customs: intellectual property rights department. Web.
Dubai Customs 2016, About Dubai Customs, Government of Dubai. Web.
Norman, HE 2014, Intellectual property law, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Shaaban, A 2016, ‘Dubai customs seizes fake products worth Dh17m’, Khaleej Times. Web.
The National Staff 2014, ‘Dubai customs officers seize 1,037 items in six months’, The National. Web.