Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Chile: Counterfeiting and Corporate Social Responsibility.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed on January 11, 2010, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) access agreement and thus enabled Chile to become the second Latin American country to be accepted as a member of this prestigious international organization.

One of the OECD’s concerns is related to the negative externalities that counterfeiting and piracy are generating on international trade, and more specifically on companies, governments and consumers. In this sense, it should be noted that these wrong doings have gained public awareness and are no longer considered exclusively as a problematic enforcement matter for trademark owners from the private sector.

According to OECD, counterfeiting and piracy harm not only companies by diminishing the economic value of their trademarks, but also have a staggering impact on governments that face lower tax revenues and increasing costs for dealing with informal trade and organized crime.

Likewise, these infringements are a constant threat for consumers, who put at risk their health and personal assets when acquiring fake goods mainly from the pharmaceutical, electrical and tobacco industries.

Moreover, the OECD also promotes the notion of Corporate Social Responsibility, so that companies should be concerned not only in regards to the needs of their clients and employees, but also in connection with other public issues, such as the adverse impact that counterfeiting triggers among consumers in different markets.

Consequently, it seems quite straightforward to argue that the incorporation of Chile to the OECD is not only a great opportunity for the government and Chilean companies, but also for foreign companies based in Chile that will qualitatively improve their Corporate Social Responsibility if they continue collaborating with our country’s efforts to reduce counterfeiting and piracy.

Prepared by Rafael Pastor (Abogado de Baker & McKenzie – Cruzat, Ortuzar & MacKenna Ltda. –, Chile), posted by Gilberto.

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