SCED opens Customs IPR Enforcement Museum (with photos)

    The Intellectual Property Rights enforcement Museum, set up by the Customs and Excise Department, would help enhance respect for intellectual property rights (IPRs) and strengthen regional co-operation, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, said today (October 30).

     Mr Ma said at the opening ceremony of the museum that creativity and innovative technology were of paramount importance to Hong Kong's economic development, and the Government was committed to its protection.

     "Our endeavour and achievement in the protection of IPRs and the evolution of law enforcement in this aspect are showcased in the museum, enabling visitors to have a deeper understanding of the work of Hong Kong Customs.

     "The simulated scenes of copyright-infringement activities in the museum will serve as a useful training ground for frontline investigators," he said.

     Mr Ma said that in addition to law enforcement, Hong Kong Customs had been proactive in promoting respect for IPRs to the community, especially among the younger generation.

     Under Customs stringent enforcement, the number of pirated optical discs selling spots dropped from 1,000 in 1998 to less than 50 in September this year. In addition, Customs officers had cracked about 10,000 counterfeit goods cases annually in the past three years. The seizure value of goods amounted to $100 million.

     Mr Ma said the Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2007 enacted in July had introduced new provisions in regard to criminal liabilities on company directors for possession of infringing copyright works such as computer software in the course of business; as well as on people who dealt in circumvention devices or provided a circumvention service for commercial purpose. Hong Kong Customs will need the co-operation of the IPR industry when it enforces the new provisions once they come into effect.

     Mr Ma thanked the industry for its continuing support of law enforcement agencies in prosecuting IPR offences.

     The 235-square metre museum, located at Kowloon Bay, was set up with a funding of $2 million.

     It displays more than 300 pieces of significant copyright-infringed items and counterfeit goods seized by Hong Kong Customs over the years. Local and overseas visitors, and schools will be invited to visit the museum.

Ends/Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Issued at HKT 19:40