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Cablegate: Ipr Training for Mexican Customs at Mazatlan

VZCZCXRO0936
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #2774/01 2551721
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111721Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3257
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 0649
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 002774

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/TPP/MTA/IPE/WALLACE/URBAN
STATE FOR WHA/MEX/WOLFSON
STATE PASS USTR FOR MELLE/MCCOY/SHIGETOMI/BAE/GARDE
JUSTICE FOR CCIPS/MERRIAM,KOUAME AND OPDAT/DELUIGI AND RAMOS
COMMERCE FOR ITA/MAC/ONAFTA/WORD
ITA/MAC/IPR/WILSON
COMMERCE PASS USPTO FOR RODRIGUEZ/BERDUT/MORALES

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR SNAR MX
SUBJECT: IPR TRAINING FOR MEXICAN CUSTOMS AT MAZATLAN

Summary
-------

1. (U) The Embassy, together with the Departments of Justice and
Homeland Security, held a three-day training seminar on detecting,
detaining, and deterring the importation of pirated and counterfeit
goods for Mexican customs and law enforcement officials at the
Pacific Coast Port of Mazatlan from August 20 through 22. The
seminar was financed by DOJ grant money from State/INL. The course
focused on the importance of inter-agency cooperation in protecting
intellectual property rights at the border and land and sea ports,
and in following up seizures of infringing goods with appropriate
administrative and criminal investigations. An instructor from the
World Customs Organization (WCO) led a discussion, describing the
many resources it has available to track particular shipments and
liaise with customs colleagues from other countries. An additional
and innovative component to this course was the participation of the
private sector, coordinated by the American Chamber of Commerce of
Mexico, which featured interactive expo stands from two dozen member
companies that taught the participants how to detect pirated and
infringing goods. The Mexican reaction to the course was very
positive, and the Embassy plans to capitalize on this success and
hold similar IPR customs trainings in other key Mexican ports. End
summary.


Students and Instructors
------------------------

2. (U) The August 20-22 seminar was attended by 50 Mexican customs
officers, the largest audience we have ever had for these programs.
The group included senior and entry-level officials from the major
Mexican ports of Mazatlan, Manzanillo, Veracruz, Nuevo Laredo,
Lazaro Cardenas, Cancun, Ensenada, Tijuana, from Customs
headquarters in Mexico City, as well as the Office of Attorney
General of the Republic (PGR - or the Mexican Department of Justice)
and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI - counterpart
to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office).

3. (U) USG course instructors consisted of an Assistant U.S.
Attorney (AUSA) for the Central District of California with
expertise in IP crimes (Craig Missakian), a DHS/CBP international
trade specialist from the Los Angeles National Targeting and
Analysis Center (Maria Trilevski), and two DHS/ICE agents - one from
the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City (William Fernandez) and one from
Phoenix, Arizona (Sergio Diaz). DOJ also funded the participation
of Ren Lobos, a Chilean customs official affiliated with the World
Customs Organization.

Seminar Program and Themes
--------------------------

4. (U) Day One of the seminar was dedicated to presentations on the
importance of IPR. The DOJ prosecutor outlined the importance of IP
protection and enforcement (Note: Mexican Customs told ECONoffs this
presentation was extremely useful since many of the young agents
were new in their jobs and not familiar with basic IPR concepts. End
note), followed by two roundtables featuring PGR and IMPI officials
speaking on Mexican IPR law, as well as interactive sessions to
explain PGR's and IMPI's respective roles in enforcing IPR at the
border and the importance of cooperation with customs officials.
These sessions focused on the nuts of bolts of container inspection
and interagency cooperation, giving participants a clear
understanding of the authority each agency has in Mexico and how
they can cooperate and communicate among themselves and with the
private sector. Since Mexican customs can only hold suspect goods
for a limited time on their own authority, the discussion revealed
the importance of communicating effectively with IMPI (to find out
whether the goods in question are pirated or counterfeit, and if so,
to possibly have IMPI confiscate them) and the PGR, which has the
power to initiate criminal investigations. The day was also
dedicated to discussing the evolving roles of the U.S. and Mexican
customs agencies in protecting IPR. ICE officials highlighted the
importance of bilateral cooperation in investigating illegal
shipments. They also laid out a case study of how a Customs seizure
led to an investigation that resulted in convictions and jail time
for leaders of an organized crime syndicate. Mexican customs shared
with the audience some of their recent successful cases, especially
in Manzanillo, due in part to the impact these types of trainings
have had on the way they now monitor shipments.


MEXICO 00002774 002 OF 002


5. (U) Day Two focused on how to follow up seizures of infringing
goods with criminal investigations. PGR agents shared case studies
in which effective communication and coordination with Customs
concluded in criminal investigations and convictions. IMPI
discussed a pilot program they are currently working on with Customs
to share a database of rightholders' contacts. This pilot program
started with 20 of the most pirated trademarks, but it is expected
to include more once it is up and running. IMPI talked about the
difficulties they are encountering in matching customs tariff
classifications and taxpayers' identification numbers with IMPI's
trademark registry. IMPI and Customs are working hard to overcome
this technical problem. The World Customs Organization instructor
discussed the information resources and international contacts
available through the WCO. He also shared his experience in fighting
IPR infringement in rough areas such as Paraguay and Bolivia.

AmCham involvement in Training
------------------------------

6. (U) On day three, more than 20 clothing, pharmaceuticals, cell
phones, movies and music, software, and electronic devices
companies, set up 12 expo stands that displayed fake and original
products. Small groups of customs officials rotated through all of
the expo stands, spending about 20 minutes at each. This gave them
time to learn directly from the rightholders how to distinguish fake
goods from original ones. The audience told us that this
inter-active "Touch, See and Learn" mechanism was very useful, since
when they are inspecting shipments, they usually do not have
original products handy to make the comparison. The rightholders
also distributed booklets to assist officials in their inspections.


Achievements and looking ahead
------------------------------

7. (U) Feedback from the Mexican attendees were very positive,
particularly with respect to the heavy focus on interagency
cooperation among Customs, PGR, and IMPI and the rightholder's
participation in instructing how to identify infringing goods.
Participants also appreciated the personal connections made among
the various Mexican and U.S. agencies, which we hope will lead to
more coordinated Mexican IPR enforcement efforts as well as better
bilateral cooperation in attacking cross-border flows of pirated and
counterfeit products. The Embassy plans to hold more IPR customs
seminars in which interagency cooperation will emphasize, and will
include a variety of industries represented by the IPR committee of
the American Chamber of Commerce.

GARZA

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