ASPA (Authentication Solutions Providers’ Association) is the world’s first and only self-regulated non-profit organisation that represents the entire physical and digital authentication solutions industry globally. The association has taken on the task of nurturing the anti-counterfeiting ecosystem by sensitising consumers, brands and policymakers towards the menace of counterfeiting and creating awareness around the solutions. To take this mission forward ASPA organises The Authentication Forum annually.
Prabhu said, “This ‘Authentic’ Authentication forum is an assurance to the customer that his interest is protected and quality which is promised will be delivered. The customer is the king and if he does not get the service or product of the promised quality then we have a problem, and we must find the best possible solution for this problem. We need to protect the customer’s interest and assure him of delivering the quality that he is paying. Technology is one solution for this problem. It can address this problem in a better way than before. We need to create a strong informed choice for customers and government needs to play a crucial role in this from creating standards, guidelines to implementation, enforcement and awareness. It is important to engage with customers, to engage with government and other stakeholders and this platform brings everyone on the same platform.”
Justice Manmohan Sarin, former Lokayukta, NCT of Delhi, Chief Justice, High Court of Jammu and Kashmir & Judge, High Court of Delhi, in his keynote address, said, “It is recognised that counterfeiting, smuggling, and illicit trade has reached humongous levels in 2016 trade in counterfeit and pirated products amounted to as much as USD 509 billion as per an OECD study. Counterfeiting results in loss of jobs, curtail the growth of industries, the potential of creating havoc in healthcare systems by spurious drugs which can result in loss of human lives. Socio-Economic crimes, such as counterfeiting, infringement of trademark, copyright cases deserve to be dealt on priority and with the expedition.”
He said that there is a need for judicial sensitivity and a proactive approach to preventing recurrence and the decisions to act as deterrents. Partly, this has been achieved by imposing punitive damages and costs which would pinch the offender. “There is also a need for imparting training to all the stakeholders, prosecutors, enforcement agencies and members of the judiciary in this field which requires specialised knowledge. Judiciary is taking centre stage in various issues of public interest and should play a pro-active role in this regard too. In many cases, we need to bring in judge-made law to fill in the vacuum to supply guidelines and/or adopt a judicial innovation approach to deal with the case. Apart from other initiatives, there is a need to create widespread awareness in consumers and industries and develop a mindset in which consumers also realise the harm which the use of counterfeit products can cause and begin to shun the same. This is, of course, the ultimate utopian goal. The Authentication Forum and its members can play a significant role in providing low cost, easy to use technology as solutions for detecting counterfeit products from genuine ones,” he added.
Nakul Pasricha, president, ASPA said, “ASPA, as an industry association of Anti-Counterfeiting solutions providers, is trying it’s best to create awareness and support the government, industry and consumers in fighting counterfeiting and building up authentication eco-systems in the country. We believe the leadership summit will empower industry, Indian and India in the fight against counterfeiting, the crime of the 21st century. We are enthusiastic to see the positive response and support from the government and industry in the fight against fakes and are confident that this powerful stage for anti-counterfeiting will enable key decision makers at all levels to enhance their knowledge of anti-counterfeiting technologies and solutions to fight counterfeits.”
Pasricha added, “Representing 3.3% of world trade, counterfeiting is a critical risk for all companies, no matter where they are, and what product they made. Issue of counterfeiting and sub-standard products has been the cause of many major tragedies claiming many human lives both worldwide and in India. Counterfeiting is a problem and with all of you Industry captains and delegates, let us work together in combating counterfeiting and leading India in achieving and becoming the USD 5-trillion knowledge-based economy.”
During the forum Authentication Solutions Providers’ Association released key findings of their report on counterfeiting in the country, which revealed that the incident of counterfeit cases in India have increased by nearly 15% in 2019 for period of January to October.
According to the findings by ASPA, the top 10 sectors with highest number of counterfeit cases for 2018 and 2019 are currency followed by liquor, FMCG (food and beverages), pharma, FMCG (personal care), documents, tobacco, automotive, construction material and chemical.
In terms of States, Uttar Pradesh is most affected by counterfeit incident followed by Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab and Gujarat.
In other findings, in terms of currency, approximately 25% cases are reported from West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. 65% of liquor counterfeit cases are from UP and Jharkhand; over 50% of food adulteration cases are from UP, Rajasthan & Punjab and over 50% cases of pharma duplication are from UP and Bihar.
Counterfeiting cases cause a revenue loss of approximately Rs 1-trillion (USD 14.7-billion) annually to the Indian economy and curbing it could give a huge boost to economic resources of the country. Be it pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, liquor, automobile, electronic goods, almost every sector is witnessing the damage. Even currency is not untouched. Right from heavy tax losses to government to irreparable damage of brand images, counterfeiting is impacting our daily lives and the rising intensity of this menace is a big risk for the knowledge based, open and globalised economy. Widespread and proper implementation of authentication technologies, enforcement, awareness, and monitoring can effectively curb counterfeiting.