Saudi Ministry of Commerce, SAIP tighten grip on counterfeiters – Arab News
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property are winning the battle against counterfeiting and fraud in the Kingdom, the authority’s spokesman told Arab News.
A recent high-profile case involving a social media influencer, who was caught red-handed by authorities after selling counterfeit goods, demonstrated the need to fight fraud in the Kingdom.

The influencer, who built a large audience of followers on Snapchat, had rented three luxurious furnished apartments in two five-star hotels in northern Riyadh. He began luring women to buy his collection of handbags, shoes, accessories and leather products, which he claimed were from reputed international brands. In a jaw-dropping tactic to further fool his customers, he even used luxury cars to deliver his counterfeit products.
• Yasser Hakami, spokesman for the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property, said that 90 percent of intellectual property violations in 2021 were related to trademarks, with the remaining 10 percent a result of copyright infringements.
• In cooperation with the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, more than 2 million counterfeit products were seized and destroyed last year.
However, the fraudster was unaware of the capabilities of the SAIP inspection and follow-up teams. As part of its war on intellectual property law violators, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property, in cooperation with the relevant authorities, raided the man’s home and seized 1,242 counterfeit products, with an estimated value of about SR700,000 ($187,000). In a statement, the Ministry of Commerce said that it referred the individual to legal authorities for prosecution.
Yasser Hakami, spokesman for the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property, said that the authority made 1,912 online inspection visits during 2021. Last year, he added, it conducted 282 visits to promote awareness of intellectual property rights and obligations.
“In 2021, we also recommended 2,079 websites to be blocked for violating the Kingdom’s intellectual property laws. Moreover, the Saudi Intellectual and Property Authority made more than 6,400 field inspection tours in 10 cities. These resulted in the confiscation of more than 95,000 items,” he told Arab News.
Hakami said that 90 percent of intellectual property violations in 2021 were related to trademarks, with the remaining 10 percent a result of copyright infringements.
In cooperation with the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, more than 2 million counterfeit products were seized and destroyed last year. The most common items included shoes, clothes, mobile accessories, sanitary ware and car filters, all bearing well-known trademarks from major international companies.
It also confiscated and destroyed more than 5.5 million items that violated the Kingdom’s intellectual property regulations, including pirated DVDs, CDs, books, as well as fake desktops, laptops, hard disks, memory chips, TV satellite boxes and CD-copying devices.
The Ministry of Commerce has repeatedly warned against the selling or marketing of fake or counterfeit goods. The act is considered a violation of the Anti-Commercial Fraud Law and Trademark System. The ministry said that any violation may lead to penalties of up to one year in prison and fines of up to SR1 million ($266,645). Both penalties can be applied in certain cases.
Ahmed Saad Omar, a Makkah-based medicine college student, told Arab News that he “appreciates the efforts of the Commerce Ministry in fighting counterfeiting,” because of the damage that the crime can do to society.
Omar called for stricter intellectual property enforcement to “put an end to these illegal activities and practices in which some consumers can naively lose their money on fake goods and even expose their lives to danger.”
Abdulrahman Al-Amri, a schoolteacher, said that the photos and videos posted by social media influencers should be monitored to protect followers from potential counterfeit products.
DUBAI: The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature of Jordan has joined for the first time the International Saudi Falcons and Hunting Exhibition to showcase Jordan’s experience in regulating hunting and training falcons.
Abdulrazzaq Al-Hamoud, supervisor of the Jordanian pavilion, said the event hosted by the Saudi Falcons Club was a good platform to highlight the society’s role in raising environmental awareness, promoting laws on hunting regulations and protecting falcons from overhunting since 1970s.
Al-Hamoud also said they were looking for partnerships with Saudi Arabian and Arab groups to share experiences on wildlife protection, regulation and ecotourism, among others, as he praised the Kingdom’s environmental efforts with the establishment of new nature reserves.
Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Ali Al-Khaled Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, toured the falcon and hunting exhibition and had a first-hand look at how falcons were being prepared for the daily auctions.
The envoy also inspected products on display in the pavilions, and was also briefed by representatives of falconry farms participating in the event.
RIYADH: CTF 150, a combined task force currently led by the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, seized 3,330 kilograms of hashish and heroin during an intercept and search operation targeting a boat in the Gulf of Oman.
The task force, which was established in 2002, is one of four operating as part of the Combined Maritime Forces under the overall command of the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, the world’s largest international maritime partnership.
The task force’s mission is to carry out maritime security operations in areas including the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Gulf of Aden, to combat terrorism and related activities such as the smuggling of people, drugs, weapons and coal.
The Royal Saudi Naval Forces took command of CTF 150 for the first time in July 2018, taking over from the British Royal Navy and leading a number of operations. It took command for a second time in August 2020, this time taking over from French naval forces, and led six operations. The first, in October 2020, resulted in the seizure of more than 450 kg of methamphetamine. The following month, 456 kg of methamphetamine and 364 kg of heroin were confiscated.
Two further operations took place in December 2020. In the first, 910 kg of hashish were seized in international waters in the Arabian Sea, and in the second, 182 kg of methamphetamine and 272 kg of heroin were found.
Dr. Abdullah Adlan has since 2019 served as the executive director of the ethics and compliance department at the National Institute of Health Research, or Saudi NIH, one of the sector’s transformation programs. 
In addition, he is the founder and chairman of the National Committee for Health Ethics at the Saudi Health Council, where he is also the co-founder and vice chairman of the national data exchange committee. He further serves as a consultant and faculty member at several medical and research establishments.
Adlan is considered an expert in medical and biological ethics, specifically in the field of research governance. He also serves as the leader and head of the project to establish a national committee specializing in health ethics.
He is the first Saudi bioethics and health research governance activist, who has been a consultant on the national ethics committee since 2018. Since then, he has participated in formulating regulations for ethical research on humans and animals. He has contributed to various initiatives to update regulations and build research capacity in the field.
Adlan’s considerable experience has seen him collaborate with international academic and research bodies including the UK’s universities of Birmingham and Bristol, University of Leuven in Belgium, and the University of Sydney in Australia.
He has also worked with the European Society of Best Practice and other organizations to exchange and transfer knowledge to Saudi Arabia; and has contributed to establishing several academic and training programs including for diploma and master’s courses.
Adlan received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the Riyadh-based King Saud University, and a master’s degree in bioethics from King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences.
He further obtained two doctorates in health research and bioethics from the universities of Bradford and Birmingham, respectively. He has also completed an Executive Master of Business Administration course at Prince Mohammad bin Salman College for Business and Entrepreneurship.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber, who also supervises the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen, on Wednesday met with the coordinator of the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen, Dr. Debbie Dash.
During the meeting, they discussed the Kingdom’s support for UN efforts in Yemen, and the efforts of the team in implementing its mandate. 
They stressed the importance of the commitment of the Iran-backed Houthi militia to the provisions of the current UN-sponsored truce and the speedy opening of roads in Taiz to alleviate human suffering in the besieged city.
The two sides also stressed that revenues must be deposited in the Central Bank of Yemen to pay the salaries of civil workers.
JEDDAH: The “Art Residency Al-Balad” has concluded its third edition with an open studio featuring the works of its residents at the premises in Rubat Al-Khunji Al-Saghir in Al-Balad in Jeddah on Tuesday and Wednesday. 
Organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and operated by Hafez Projects, the public was invited to visit the studios of the resident artists, learn about their projects and experiences, and discuss their artistic aspirations.
The program offered six-week residencies to national and international emerging and mid-career artists, curators and researchers. 
The participating artists — Ahmed Ben Taleb from Morocco, Andrea Alkalay from Argentina, Ashwag Kojah from Jeddah, Asmaa Alfageeh from Al-Qunfudhah, Eligatou from Riyadh, Fernando Martín Velazco from Mexico, Kawthar Smaren from Riyadh, Khalid Alangari from Dawadmi and Mahmud Manning from Britain — presented their artworks and interacted with the public.  
Mohamed Ali Ghomriani, managing director of Hafez Projects, said: “As an organization which has been active in Jeddah’s artistic scene in the last eight years, we are extremely grateful to the Ministry of Culture to have been given the opportunity to operate the Art Residency Program Al-Balad. The Open Studio was a chance to share with the public the results of the work carried out by the residents over the last six weeks.”
He added: “It was also a chance to witness, once again, the interest and enthusiasm of all the guests who visited the art residency during the event. This confirms the importance of continuing to support arts initiatives and the artists towards the establishment of a flourishing and living cultural life in our city of Jeddah.”
Ghomriani said that the Open Studio is a space to share knowledge and experiences about arts, culture and the local heritage. He added that it also provides an opportunity to discover new perspectives on Al-Balad and the city of Jeddah. 
He said that such a dialogue is necessary to feed creativity and knowledge within and beyond the arts sector.
Alfageeh, an academic researcher, said: “I am glad to be a part of such an immense residency program that reflected on the place of the artist and the way they can integrate their insights and perspectives to the art culture. This helped me to enhance my skills to conduct research on topics that haven’t been covered before in Saudi Arabia.”
Alfageeh’s research interests include arts, literary texts, TV shows and films that discuss issues related to Muslim identity, multiculturalism, Islamophobia, radicalization and terrorism in Western and Arab contexts. 
“During the residency programs, I have conducted several interviews required for research purposes related to the art scene. I have learned that there has been a significant shift in the art culture and the encouragement from the government helped many artists to flourish and document the Saudi culture in the form of different arts. I believe art is important for (a) country’s manifestation.”
Smaren, the Riyadh-based artist in the residency, had pursued art as a hobby before embarking on studies, where she learned the basics of her craft, different styles, periods, schools, and modern trends. 
“My work aimed at giving a tribute to Al-Balad architectural beauty and the historical importance that it holds in the country. The residency encouraged the artists to experience and develop their practices by engaging in site visits of Al-Balad, workshops, and opportunities for dialogue between different artists.”
Participating for the first time, the international artists considered the event an excellent opportunity to be a part of this initiative that fosters local, regional and international development in contemporary art.
Part of the Ministry of Culture’s “Advancing Cultural Entrepreneurship” initiative, the Art Residency Al-Balad is sponsored by Saudi Vision 2030’s Quality of Life Program, which reflects the Kingdom’s support for nurturing creativing between Saudi and international practitioners


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