Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) encompasses patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Counterfeit and pirated goods that infringe upon these rights can cause economic harm, damage brand reputation, and cause huge damage to health and safety of the consumers. The protection of intellectual property is crucial for fostering innovation, encouraging creativity, and maintaining a fair market environment. Customs plays a vital role in preventing the entry of counterfeit and pirated goods into the market by identifying, seizing, and ultimately destroying such infringing goods.
In addition to the regulating the legitimate trade and collection of revenue, one of the mission of Sri Lanka Customs is protecting the consumers and the environment. To accomplish this mission, Sri Lanka Customs has established a special operational unit called “Consumer Protection Unit” under Social Protection Directorate.
The IPR dedicated office was established under this unit, and the main objective of this unit, is to protect the rights of consumers. In order to achieve this aim, the counterfeit goods are being intercepted and seized by this unit, based on the intelligence or information by this unit.
The Customs officials are empowered to carry out this entire IPR operation as per the Provisions of the Customs Ordinance read with Intellectual Property Act. No. 36 of 2003. Furthermore, Customs authorities’ actions against IPR infringed goods are guided by international agreements such as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Revised Kyoto Convention.
The Consumer Protection Unit of Sri Lanka Customs has organized this IPR infringed goods destruction event to destroy the seized counterfeited goods, under the patronage of the Director General of Customs Mr. P.B.S.C. Nonis, and the guidance of Senior Director of Customs Mr. M.S.J.De Silva. The seized items ranged from electronics and household goods to fancy and automotive parts. This destruction operation comes as part of a broader strategy to curb the circulation of fake products that not only undermine legitimate businesses but also pose potential risks to consumers.
The operation also highlights the need for public awareness regarding the risks associated with purchasing counterfeit goods. Consumers are urged to be vigilant when making purchases, especially online, and to support legitimate businesses that uphold quality and safety.
At this mass destruction program, around 62,900 pieces of goods valued at Rs.88,046,400/-
Including Oil Filters, Air Filters, Hands free, Data Cables, Phone chargers & Spark Plugs are destroyed, which were illegally imported into Sri Lanka.
These counterfeit goods make significant consequences to the consumers. Several mobile phone explosions incidents have been reported in Sri Lanka, due to the use of counterfeited and substandard quality of mobile phone chargers and batteries. Furthermore, as per the research conducted, it was revealed that, one of the main causes of the road accidents is, using the counterfeit automobile parts such as break shoes, engine parts and inferior quality bearings.
This mass destruction event is carried out in the presence of the representatives of Central Environmental Authority, Right Holders of brands, Central Disposal Directorate of Sri Lanka Customs and Audits of Sri Lanka Customs. The residuals after the destruction will be handled in an environmentally friendly manner, as per the regulation stipulated by the Central Environmental Authority.