The Ministry of Internal Affairs welcomes the decision of the US Government Agency, which deals with international trade relations, for removing Romania from the „Watch List”, which reflects the recognition of the significant steps that our country has taken in the last year in order to improve protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has recognized Romania as a fully trusted partner for the United States in terms of intellectual property protection for the first time in over 25 years.
An important contribution to this decision also consists in the efforts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which, through the specialized structures, has carried out constant actions for the discovery, investigation and sanctioning of illegalities in the field of intellectual property rights.
The statistical data registered in the reference field in 2021 reflect the intensification of the activities carried out by the specialized structures both on the line of making unavailable counterfeit goods and on the line of completing the criminal investigations.
We mention that at the level of the Romanian Police, in 2021, 91 internet domains were investigated (compared to 51 in 2020), goods were made unavailable in a total amount of 50,045,100 lei (33,397,200 lei in 2020), 1,465 criminal cases were resolved (1,205 in 2020), precautionary measures were applied in a total amount of 4,855,690 lei (484,520 lei in 2020).
Also, at the level of the Border Police, 327 criminal acts were found regarding the violation of the intellectual property right. Thus, border guards – independently or in collaboration with customs workers – found more than 2.5 million counterfeit goods bearing the insignia of protected international trademarks.
At the level of specialized structures, steps have been taken to make the activity in this field more efficient.
Thus, in 2021, the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police ordered measures to prioritize, at the level of economic crime investigation structures, cases regarding the investigation of intellectual property rights crimes, especially for the destruction of networks / organized criminal groups of import, distribution and sale of counterfeit goods, as well as in the field of online piracy.
Also, measures were taken for the establishment, within the Directorate of Economic Crime Investigation, of a specialized structure in the field, starting with October 2021 being operationalized the Service of Investigation of crimes under intellectual property rights, and within it was set up an online investigation department.
At the same time, at the level of each economic crime investigation service within the county police inspectorates, the General Directorate of Police of the Municipality of Bucharest and the District Police have been appointed, since August 2021, 2 police officers to carry out exclusively prevention and combating intellectual property rights illegalities.
A constant concern at the level of the Romanian Police has been to ensure the specialization of police officers in investigating crimes under the intellectual property rights regime, meaning that specific courses have been organized in collaboration with international or Romanian partners.
At the same time, the Border Police organized campaigns in partnership with civil society organizations, to prevent and combat illicit trafficking in goods that affect intellectual property rights.
Romania was on the „Watch List” for the first time in 1995 and, after 3 years of observation, entered this List where it was constantly found from 1999 to 2021.