Ontario Chamber calls for protection of intellectual property



    TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - In a report issued today, Ontario's premier
business advocate calls on the provincial government to get involved in what
has traditionally been considered a federal issue.
    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce argues in "Protection of Intellectual
Property: A Case for Ontario", that piracy and counterfeiting transcend
jurisdiction, and must be addressed through the collaboration of all
stakeholders: government, industry and consumers. In fact, the report contends
that the Ontario government has a responsibility to play a key role in the
issue.
    According to the report, piracy and counterfeiting can be estimated to
cost the Canadian economy $22.5 billion, which would translate into a
$9 billion problem for Ontario.
    "Based on conservative estimates, a $9 billion loss to Ontario's economy
is robbing the province of $1.6 billion in lost tax revenue, and about 50,000
jobs," says Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
"Add the negative impacts on Ontario's attractiveness to investors, ability to
foster innovation and the potential damage to trading relations with our
largest trading partner, the United States, and the province is compelled to
act."

    
    Using a number of specific industry examples, the report outlines a
comprehensive series of recommendations including:

    -   The Federal and Provincial governments establish an IP Crime Task
        Force and an IP Inter-ministerial Coordination Council;
    -   The Federal government strengthen the IP protection legislative
        framework by, among other things, criminalizing trademark
        counterfeiting and the intentional manufacture, reproduction,
        distribution, importation or sale of counterfeit products
    -   The Federal and provincial governments provide additional funding and
        training to the Canada Border Services Agency, police, Crown
        Attorneys and judges to enhance IPR Protection;
    -   Businesses adopt the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy
        Supply Chain Toolkit; and,
    -   All stakeholders work together to generate greater public awareness
        concerning the impact of counterfeiting and piracy on public health
        and safety, and the economy.
    

    "Protection of Intellectual Property: A Case for Ontario" can be found at
www.occ.on.ca

    The OCC represents over 57,000 businesses through 160 local Chambers of
Commerce and Boards of Trade, and has been Ontario's business advocate since
1911. Its advocacy and policy initiatives focus on six areas key to the
economic well-being of the province: health; education; energy; finance &
taxation; transportation & infrastructure; and border issues.

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    INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS APPLAUD CALL FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION

    "GE was founded by Thomas Edison, one of the world's greatest innovators.
Innovation continues to drive our global growth today. However, successful
innovation is dependent on the protection of the intellectual property that
emerges from the creative process. Whether we're talking about electrical
products designed and manufactured by GE's Industrial business or movies
produced by NBC Universal, we are very concerned by the proliferation of
counterfeit and pirated product. Canada has lost its focus on IP protection
and is seen as a global laggard in addressing this issue. We must continue to
press for better laws and stronger enforcement."
    Elyse Allan, President and CEO of GE Canada

    "The theft of intellectual property and the disturbingly wide trade in
counterfeit goods is a very real threat to both consumer safety and our
broader economic security. As Canadian manufacturers adapt to major challenges
such as the high dollar we need assurance that our investments in new
productivity-enhancing processes, technologies and products will be fully
protected. Its time for action."
    David Patterson, Vice President Corporate and Environmental Affairs,
General Motors

    "Today's weak rules against counterfeiting and piracy harm all sectors of
Ontario's economy by discouraging investment in innovation. The Chamber's
report makes a powerful case for stronger IP protection in Ontario, where we
urgently need measures to drive innovation and improve our competitiveness.
International best practices clearly demonstrate a direct correlation between
the protection of IP rights and the level of investment in IP industries. The
Chamber is on the right track here and is to be congratulated."
    Randy Lennox, President and CEO, Universal Music Canada

    "Counterfeiting is a serious threat to Ontario's reputation and our
brands internationally, and has directly impacted the wine industry, among
others. A stronger IP regime is vitally needed to encourage a continued
commitment to scientific innovation in research. I applaud the Ontario Chamber
for its report and urge business and government to work together to generate
greater public awareness about the impacts of piracy and counterfeiting."
    Donald Ziraldo, Chair, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

    "From our perspective, IP protection in Canada is very important to the
growth of our regional economy. We encourage both business and governments to
move quickly on the report's recommendations."
    Ross Wells, Chair, Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, and
Partner, Gowlings





For further information:

For further information: and to arrange interviews, contact Amy Terrill,
W: (416) 482-5222, ext. 241, C: (416) 605-8205, or by email at
amyterrill@occ.on.ca


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