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Brussels, 23 June 2010

Intellectual property rights: Parliament and the Commission award prizes for winners of Real FAKE competition

Today, the Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier, and members of the European Parliament awarded prizes to the winners of the "REAL Fake" competition for schools. The competition to design a logo for the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy or posters, short films, games and other materials about counterfeiting and piracy, was initiated by the European Parliament and by the European Commission. This competition was a first step in a larger public awareness campaign that is being launched by the European Union to make Europeans more aware of the dangers of counterfeit and pirated goods and their harmful effects on consumers and the economy. The winners were invited to a grand awards ceremony at the European Parliament, in Brussels.

Internal Market and Services Commissioner, Michel Barnier, said: "I am glad to see that the young generation has shown a high interest in participating in this contest. Everyone, regardless of age, can contribute to the fight against trade in fake and pirated goods which are a threat to our safety and our personal and economic health.. It is vitally important that we jointly develop initiatives such as this to help fight this damaging phenomenon. Raising awareness and educating young people about the dangers of buying and using fake products is crucial. This competition shows that messages about protecting and enforcing Intellectual Property Rights do not necessarily need to be repressive, and can actually be fun and engaging. In this way we can bring a closer understanding to a new generation of EU consumers."

The "REAL fake" competition was carried out throughout the EU between March and June 2010 and was aimed at students between 10 and 15 years old. Young people across Europe were given the chance to produce posters, short videos, games, cartoons or other educational material that highlight the implications of counterfeiting and piracy. Alternatively, participants could design a winning logo for the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy.

Hundreds of submissions from all over Europe were received, from which an independent jury made its selection of successful entries.

  • The winners of the 1st category for best "Logo/Poster" for the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy, which will be used on all of the Observatory's future materials, were:

1st place – 1st High School of Triandria (Greece);

2nd place – IES Sabinar-Roquetas de Mar (Almería, Spain);

3rd place – Gimnazjum z Oddziałami Integracyjnymi nr 4 im. Orła Białego w Słupsku (Poland).

  • The winners of the 2nd category for best "Video" were:

1st place – Vörösmarty Mihály Általános Iskola és Alapfokú Művészetoktatási Intézmény (Hungary);

2nd place – Gymnázium Nymburk (Czech Republic);

3rd place – Gimnazjum w Jasienicy (Poland).

Prizes ranged from computer equipment for the schools to consoles, games, sportswear and educational material for the children.

All winners were invited to Brussels, where they received their prizes from notable MEPs (Edit Herczog, Bill Newton Dunn and Andreas Schwab) and the Internal Market and Services Commissioner, Michel Barnier. Fashion designer and former model Yasmin Le Bon, vice president of Unifab Philipe Lacoste and singer/songwriter Alain Chamfort were also on hand to congratulate the successful schools. President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek made a key appearance at the exhibition of counterfeited and pirated goods organised during the event.

Counterfeiting and Piracy

Over the past ten years the global explosion in counterfeiting and piracy has become one of the most devastating problems facing world business. Twenty years ago, counterfeiting might have been regarded as a problem chiefly for the manufacturers of fashion wear, watches and expensive handbags. But nowadays, counterfeiters have broadened their production to include not only fake electrical appliances, car parts and toys, but also medicines. According to the latest figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is estimated to have reached USD 250 billion in 2007. In 2008, EU customs officials intercepted more than 178 million counterfeited and pirated articles. This compares to seizures of 79 million articles in 2007. The number of cases in which customs took action increased for the sixth consecutive year.

The Observatory

Launched by the European Commission in 2009, the Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy has been set up to ensure greater collaboration between industry, public administrations and consumers in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. The Observatory serves as a platform to allow exchanges of practical experiences, raising public awareness and sharing best practices on enforcement techniques. Crucially the Observatory is a central resource for gathering, monitoring and reporting essential data and information that will improve the EU's knowledge about the dangers of counterfeiting and piracy.

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