Know your Swiss Corporate Reporting and Due Diligence Obligations

Switzerland has introduced new Corporate Reporting and Due Diligence obligations in connection with conflict minerals and child labour to improve human rights protections around the world.

Switzerland is following international trends and regulations for non-financial reporting and human rights due diligence and the reforms include new rules in the Swiss Code of Obligations related to the trade of minerals and metal ores originating from conflict-affected zones. The resources are reportedly being extracted using forced labour and are a known source of finance for armed conflict, says the EU. The EU implemented the Conflict Minerals Regulation last year as a means of restricting access to these natural resources.

Companies with registered offices or principal places of business in Switzerland have to comply with these due diligence obligations in their supply chain when dealing with the highlighted minerals and metals in Switzerland. They also need to comply with the due diligence duties if they offer goods or services that have suspected links to child labour. The import and processing of recycled materials are not subject to the new rules.

Requirements for Corporate Reporting and Due Diligence 

These corporate reporting and due diligence obligations will apply from the start of the financial year in 2023 to Swiss companies of public interest, which as a group together with their controlled companies in Switzerland and abroad meet both of the following requirements over two consecutive financial years:

  • The group has at least 500 full-time employees (FTEs) on an annual average; and
  • The group exceeds either total assets of 20 million Swiss francs or a minimum turnover of 40 million Swiss francs.

Companies’ annual reports should cover environmental, social, and employee aspects, human rights, and anti-corruption. It must outline risks and mitigation measures and the relevant due diligence concepts adopted. Foreign companies related to the corporation must also be covered in the report approved by management and shareholders and must remain public for 10 years.

The first reports have to be published in 2024 and failure to do so may result in a fine of up to 100,000 Swiss francs. A report need not be prepared if a written explanation for its absence is provided.

Businesses are required to have or put in place a suitable management system containing their supply chain policy, a system of supply chain traceability, risk assessments, and mitigation measures. This information must be available through on-site controls, and communications with authorities and civil society.

Companies should publish reports on due diligence obligations. These should be accessible for at least 10 years. Making false statements in a report, or failing to comply with the reporting obligation, may lead to a fine of up to 100,000 Swiss francs. Where the failures are negligent rather than intentional, a fine of up to 50,000 Swiss francs could be imposed.
LET’S TALK ABOUT CORPORATE REPORTING AND DUE DILIGENCE LAW

Exemptions to the requirements exist for businesses with fewer than 500 employees and assets of less than 20 million Swiss francs or a turnover of under 40 million Swiss francs. Large corporations can also apply for exemption provided that they demonstrate their supply chain contains a low risk of child labour or that they respect internationally recognised conventions such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

As the ecosystem of corporate responsibility for companies is developing quickly, navigating it safely in the interest of rights-holders requires monitoring corporate behaviour and ensuring that mandatory due diligence requirements can live up to the expectations and deliver results.

Due Diligence investigations: Mitigate Critical Risks

At CRI®, we provide corporate reporting and due diligence services wherever you are. Use our DueDiligence360™ reports to help you comply with anti-money laundering, anti-bribery, and anti-corruption regulations ahead of a merger, acquisition, or joint venture. You can also use them for third-party risk assessment, onboarding decision-making, and identifying beneficial ownership structures.

Due Diligence helps you Identify key risk issues clearly and concisely using accurate information in a well-structured and transparent report format. Our comprehensive range of reports includes specialised reports that support specific compliance requirements. Protect your reputation and the risk of financial damage and regulator action using our detailed reports. They enhance your knowledge and understanding of the customer, supplier, and third-party risk, helping you avoid those involved with financial crime.

The CRI® Group invites you to schedule a quick appointment with them to discuss in more detail how conducting due diligence and compliance can help you and your organisation.

Based in London, CRI® Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceTPRMDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider.

We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI® Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.
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The new Norwegian Transparency Act: Here’s what you need to know

The Norwegian Transparency Act entered into force on 1 July 2022, obliging large and mid-size companies to conduct fundamental human rights and decent working conditions due diligence throughout their supply chain and with their business partners. 

The Transparency Act covers services and products in a broad sense. Under this Act, consumers, organisations, trade unions, journalists, and the general public will be entitled to request information from companies, and the Norwegian consumer authority may issue injunctions and fines for non-compliance. 

Though it is a Norwegian initiative, we see similar initiatives such as Germany’s Supply Chain Due Diligence Act or the UK’s Modern Slavery Act in other European countries.

Who does the Act apply?

The Act applies to companies registered in Norway, and foreign companies that must pay taxes in Norway. These must meet at least two of the three criteria below:

  • At least 50 full-time employees (or equivalent annual man-hours)
  • An annual turnover of at least NOK 70 million (£5.9 million)
  • A balance sheet sum of at least NOK 35 million (£2.95 million)

Integrating environmental aspects and granting access to justice for victims of corporate abuse are two crucial outstanding tasks for the Norwegian legislation. The European Commission is expected to address them under its Sustainable Corporate Governance initiative, as demanded by an overwhelming majority of respondents to the relevant public consultation.

The Norwegian Consumer Agency is the supervisory body for the Transparency Act, while the Market Council will act as the appeal body for appeals against the Norwegian Consumer Agency’s decisions. These bodies will be able to review the companies’ reports to confirm they fulfill the reporting obligation.

Complying with the Act

Managers of enterprises should become familiar with the Transparency Act and its requirements so they can ensure that sufficient resources are allocated for compliance with the Act. They need to establish systems internally that enable them to answer requests within the three-week deadline.

Existing policies and risk assessment forms that form the basis for the due diligence assessment also need to be updated. These policies must cover the requirements of fundamental human rights and decent working conditions. The risk assessment should the enterprise itself, its supply chain, and business partners. Enterprises can turn any potential business risks into a competitive advantage by allocating sufficient resources to the Transparency Act.

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We can help with Due Diligence

The CRI Group has developed a highly specialised assessment solution for Corporate Due Diligence and Third-Party Risk Management to assist organisations in accurately identifying, preventing, mitigating and addressing actual and potential adverse impacts of affiliating with global partners and complies with all EU mandates.

From enhanced due diligence to identify non-compliance of the regulatory framework and damaging environmental allegations to investigating company (or stakeholder) human rights violations related to labour laws, child labour or human trafficking, CRI Group experts help determine the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners and suppliers affiliated with your company’s value chain.

The Benefits of Compliance

Recent studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between the extent to which companies implement environmental, social and good governance policies, and their overall economic performance, all while contributing to a more stable global marketplace. Such responsible business conduct will:

  • Enhance protection for workers
  • Improve access to justice for victims
  • Safeguard the environment
  • Ensure fair products for consumers

Further, apart from general compliance with EU mandates, such organisations will benefit from:

  • Reduced overall liability risks
  • Improved stakeholder protection
  • Lower costs resulting from conflicts
  • Improved company transparency
  • More profound knowledge of the value chain
  • Enhanced reputation in the market &
  • Improved social standards for workers

CRI Group’s corporate due diligence and accountability solutions can help your organisation comply with a growing list of global regulations and mandates related to human rights and the environment while acting as an integral part of your business decision-making and risk management systems. 

Contact the CRI Group to learn more about our Corporate Due Diligence and Accountability solutions and stay one step ahead of the pending EU mandates. We look forward to assisting you.

CONTACT US

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About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider.

We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification.

ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

The new Dutch Child Labour Due Diligence Law: Some FAQs

On November 13, 2019, the new Dutch Child Labour Due Diligence Law was published in the Dutch Government Gazette. It introduces a duty of care for companies to prevent the supply of goods or services which have come into existence using child labour. Companies likely to be affected must set out a plan of action on how to combat it and issue a due diligence statement on their investigation and plan of action.

Though the exact date the act comes into force is not yet known, companies will have six months from the law’s effective date to submit the required documentation demonstrating compliance with the statute. Companies, even those registered outside the Netherlands, selling goods or services to Dutch end-users are required to exercise due diligence to assess whether the services or goods being supplied have been produced using child labour.

Under the Act, firms are required to ensure due diligence through the following:

  • Investigate their supply chains to identify any suspicion of child labour
  • Draft and implement a plan of action to terminate child labour if identified from investigations
  • Create an action plan to avoid the use of child labour
  • Submit a declaration to the yet-to-be-determined regulatory body, affirming that they have exercised an appropriate level of supply chain due diligence to prevent child labour 

In cases of non-compliance with the Child Labour Due Diligence Law, the supervisory authority must first issue a compliance order. It can only impose an administrative fine if the company fails to duly comply with this order.

The consequences of failure to exercise due diligence

Non-compliance with the obligation to submit the required statement can result in an administrative fine of a maximum of EUR 4,350 or a fine of up to EUR 8,700. Failure to exercise due diligence or develop and execute a plan of action as required by the Act may result in a fine of up to EUR 870,000 or a fine of up to 10% of the company’s turnover in the preceding financial year.

Repeated non-compliance with the Act within five years of the imposition of an administrative fine is an economic offense under the Dutch Economic Offences Act. While the Act’s criminal provision is ambiguous, company directors could face up to two years in prison or a fine of up to EUR 21,750.

The Act reflects a significant new step in combating child labour in corporate supply chains, introducing mandatory requirements under an administrative and criminal penalty regime. It fits into an increasing global focus on CSR and labour trafficking in corporate supply chains.

Although several aspects of the Act need to be further clarified by subordinate legislation, companies should start assessing the possibility of any form of child labour in their supply chains. They should also consider reviewing whether existing compliance programs will be sufficient to comply with the Act’s requirements.

Several key questions remain: When will the implementation of the law begin? What should the statement include? What constitutes sufficient due diligence? and Which government body will be in charge of regulating and enforcing the law? These elements will be specified in the General Administrative Orders to be announced by the Dutch government. The law’s effectiveness will largely depend on how these administrative orders take form.

Despite its flaws, the Dutch law is a critical moment for the international movement toward mandatory due diligence. 

Due Diligence investigations: Mitigate Critical Risks

At CRI®, we provide due diligence services wherever you are. Use our DueDiligence360™ reports to help you comply with anti-money laundering, anti-bribery, and anti-corruption regulations ahead of a merger, acquisition, or joint venture. You can also use them for third-party risk assessment, onboarding decision-making, and identifying beneficial ownership structures.

On November 13, 2019, the new Dutch Child Labour Due Diligence Law was published in the Dutch Government Gazette. It introduces a duty of care for companies to prevent the supply of goods or services which have come into existence using child labour. Companies likely to be affected must set out a plan of action on how to combat it and issue a due diligence statement on their investigation and plan of action.

Though exact date the act comes into force is not yet known, companies will have six months from the law’s effective date to submit the required documentation demonstrating compliance with the statute. Companies, even those registered outside the Netherlands, selling goods or services to Dutch end-users are required to exercise due diligence to assess whether the services or goods being supplied have been produced using child labour.

Under the Act, firms are required to ensure due diligence through the following:

  • Investigate their supply chains to identify any suspicion of child labour
  • Draft and implement a plan of action to terminate child labour if identified from investigations
  • Create an action plan to avoid the use of child labour
  • Submit a declaration to the yet-to-be-determined regulatory body, affirming that they have exercised an appropriate level of supply chain due diligence in order to prevent child labour 

In cases of non-compliance of the Child Labour Due Diligence Law, the supervisory authority must first issue a compliance order. It can only impose an administrative fine if the company fails to duly comply with this order.

LET’S TALK ABOUT CHILD LABOUR DUE DILIGENCE LAW

The consequences of failure to exercise due diligence

Non-compliance with the obligation to submit the required statement can result in an administrative fine of maximum EUR 4,350 or a fine of up to EUR 8,700. Failure to exercise due diligence or develop and execute a plan of action as required by the Act, may result in a fine of up to EUR 870,000 or a fine of up to 10% of the company’s turnover in the preceding financial year.

Repeated non-compliance with the Act within five years as of the imposition of an administrative fine is an economic offense under the Dutch Economic Offences Act. While the Act’s criminal provision is ambiguous, company directors could face up to two years in prison or a fine of up to EUR 21,750.

The Act reflects a significant new step in combating child labour in corporate supply chains, introducing mandatory requirements under an administrative and criminal penalty regime. It fits into an increasing global focus on CSR and labour trafficking in corporate supply chains.

Although several aspects of the Act need to be further clarified by subordinate legislation, companies should start assessing the possibility of any form of child labor in their supply chains. They should also consider reviewing whether existing compliance programs will be sufficient to comply with the Act’s requirements.

A number of key questions – such as when the implementation of the law will begin, what the statement should include, what exactly constitutes sufficient due diligence, and which government body will actually be in charge of regulating and enforcing the law – remain unanswered for now. These elements will be specified in the General Administrative Orders to be announced by the Dutch government. The law’s effectiveness will largely depend on how these administrative orders take form.

Despite its flaws, the Dutch law is a critical moment for the international movement toward mandatory due diligence.

LET’S TALK ABOUT CHILD LABOUR DUE DILIGENCE LAW

Due Diligence investigations: Mitigate Critical Risks

At CRI®, we provide due diligence services wherever you are. Use our DueDiligence360™ reports to help you comply with anti-money laundering, anti-bribery, and anti-corruption regulations ahead of a merger, acquisition, or joint venture. You can also use them for third-party risk assessment, onboarding decision-making, and identifying beneficial ownership structures.

Due Diligence helps you Identify key risk issues clearly and concisely using accurate information in a well-structured and transparent report format. Our comprehensive range of reports includes specialised reports that support specific compliance requirements. Protect your reputation and the risk of financial damage and regulator action using our detailed reports. They enhance your knowledge and understanding of the customer, supplier, and third-party risk, helping you avoid those involved with financial crime.

The CRI® Group invites you to schedule a quick appointment with them to discuss in more detail how conducting due diligence and compliance can help you and your organisation.

Based in London, CRI® Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceTPRMDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider.

We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI® Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

CONTACT US

How does Human Rights Due Diligence Legislation in EU affect Asia

With the EU Due Diligence Legislation in play, the concept of mandatory human rights due diligence for companies is gaining momentum among governments and businesses in Europe. So how does this legislation matter? In terms of working conditions in India, for example, a government report found that:

  • A sizeable number of workers in India earn less than half of the accepted minimum wage
  • 71% do not have a written employment contract
  • 54% do not get paid leave
  • Nearly 80% of these in urban areas work well beyond the eight-hour workday (48-hour week).

The tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh in 2013, which claimed the lives of over 1,000 people, confirmed for European lawmakers the need to establish a strict liability regime for corporate supply chains, says a report by Dr Daniel Sharma on dlapiper.com

The EU Due Diligence Legislation imposes liabilities on companies that procure their products through supply chains from India and South Asia and sell them in Europe. The aim is to establish sanctions under public law and establish complaint procedures for affected parties. 

Navigating Human Rights Due Diligence requirements

Let us take a look at how companies with supply chains to India and South Asia can safely navigate this new regulatory landscape at the EU level:

  • A good start would be to conduct an independent risk analysis of the company’s value chains, looking at the risk of potential human rights or environmental violations. Needless to say, this risk analysis must be conducted by independent third parties with knowledge of systems in India and South Asia.
  • Companies should create a compliance structure and screening mechanism taking into account the cultural diversity of India and South Asia and ensuring that suppliers comply with the due diligence obligations.
  • Companies must conduct a risk analysis of their value chains annually to verify that the due diligence mechanisms installed concerning their value chains are working and conduct an effective analysis of their preventive grievance mechanisms.
  • Preventive measures need to be adopted for factors identified within the company’s value chain during the required risk analysis. This should be done by preparing agreements in which the suppliers are also required to comply with due diligence requirements relating to human rights, labour and environmental standards.
  • Issuance of a policy statement regarding respect for human rights and the use of transparent and public reporting processes will also make the system robust for both the company as well as their suppliers.
  • Random checks of the aforementioned requirements at regular intervals should also be part of effective supplier management, and suppliers can be asked to ensure that compliance standards are also observed in the downstream value chains.

Implementing the above will allow companies to safely navigate European supply chain legislation without exposing themselves to sanctions or penalties.

We can help with Human Rights Due Diligence

The CRI Group has developed a highly specialised assessment solution for Corporate Due Diligence to assist organisations in accurately identifying, preventing, mitigating and addressing actual and potential adverse impacts of affiliating with global partners and complying with all EU mandates.

From enhanced due diligence to identify non-compliance with the regulatory framework and damaging environmental allegations to investigating company (or stakeholder) human rights violations related to labour laws, child labour or human trafficking, CRI Group experts help determine the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners and suppliers affiliated with your company’s value chain.

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research Solutions provider.

We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications and is an HRO-certified provider and partners with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification.

ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

What’s your plan of action for Mandatory Due Diligence?

There is growing momentum among governments all over the world that calls for Mandatory Due Diligence. This requires companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence. We now have the French Duty of Vigilance Law and the adoption in 2021 of new laws in Germany and Norway to the publication of a proposal for an EU-wide law in 2022, all moving in this direction. Major investors and companies are also speaking out in favour of such legislation, according to business-humanrights.org

Corporates will not be allowed anymore to focus on short-term benefits at the expense of long-term sustainable value creation. Environmental and social interests will also need to be fully woven into business strategies of the corporates.

Improving commitment to Mandatory Due Diligence

Corporates are bound to get in line with human rights due diligence guidelines, as prescribed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Yet very few actually comply with the standards and nearly half of the biggest companies in the world analysed in the latest Corporate Human Rights Benchmark could not produce any proof of mitigating human rights issues in their supply chains.

The KnowTheChain benchmarks showed companies scoring a poor 29% for their human rights due diligence efforts — something that mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence laws seek to address.

For these laws should to be effective, a few important factors need to be factored in, such as a due diligence obligation for businesses across their global value chains; an effective and safe stakeholder engagement; mandatory requirements that go beyond routine check and audits, a thorough look at irresponsible business models and purchasing practices, and strong civil liability enforcement.

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We can help with Mandatory Due Diligence

The CRI Group has developed a highly specialised assessment solution for Corporate Due Diligence and Third-Party Risk Management to assist organisations in accurately identifying, preventing, mitigating and addressing actual and potential adverse impacts of affiliating with global partners and complies with all EU mandates.

From enhanced due diligence to identify non-compliance of the regulatory framework and damaging environmental allegations to investigating company (or stakeholder) human rights violations related to labour laws, child labour or human trafficking, CRI Group experts help determine the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners and suppliers affiliated with your company’s value chain.

The Benefits of Compliance

Recent studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between the extent to which companies implement environmental, social and good governance policies, and their overall economic performance, all while contributing to a more stable global marketplace. Such responsible business conduct will:

  • Enhance protection for workers
  • Improve access to justice for victims
  • Safeguard the environment
  • Ensure fair products for consumers

Further, apart from general compliance with EU mandates, such organisations will benefit from:

  • Reduced overall liability risks
  • Improved stakeholder protection
  • Lower costs resulting from conflicts
  • Improved company transparency
  • More profound knowledge of the value chain
  • Enhanced reputation in the market &
  • Improved social standards for workers

CRI Group’s corporate due diligence and accountability solutions can help your organisation comply with a growing list of global regulations and mandates related to human rights and the environment while acting as an integral part of your business decision-making and risk management systems. 

Contact the CRI Group to learn more about our Corporate Due Diligence and Accountability solutions and stay one step ahead of the pending EU mandates. We look forward to assisting you.

CONTACT US

 

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider.

We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification.

ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

 

EU: Can IP infringements cost you your life?

The Intellectual Property Commission estimates that IP infringements in the form of counterfeit goods, trade secret theft, and pirated software costs the US economy $225 billion to $600 billion.

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019 and its subsequent spread around the world, counterfeiters have turned their attention to producing fake testing kits, counterfeit personal protection equipment and, even before the authorities have approved treatments, fake medicines purporting to cure the disease, according to the 2020 status report by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The joint report on counterfeit medicines showed that not only ‘lifestyle’ medicines but also medicines to treat serious diseases, including antibiotics, cancer therapies or heart disease medications, are subject to being counterfeited, with potentially deadly consequences for the patients who consume those medicines.

This report underlines the importance of IP rights to the EU economy and, therefore, to any recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, which has dominated the first half of 2020 and threatens to have long-lasting effects. It brings together the findings of the research carried out in recent years by the EUIPO, through the European Observatory on the infringement of Intellectual Property Rights, on the extent, scope and economic consequences of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) infringement in the EU.

The Status Report also contains research on the volume of counterfeit and pirated goods in international trade and the economic contribution of intellectual property-rights intensive industries to economic growth and jobs.

IP Rights and your employees

Depending on the type of business you are involved in, it is likely that your employees will create certain types of intellectual property in the course of their employment with you. This is especially true if they are involved in compiling databases, creating marketing material and training brochures. Since the IP rights here belong to the company they work for, an employee contract will serve to protect you here. 

It is also vital here to run background checks on employees before you hire them.

Employee Background Checks

Simply investing in sufficient employment screening services can save you time, money and heartbreak. The CRI Group is a leading worldwide provider, specialising in local and international employee background check, including pre employment background check.

Our employee background checks services, also known as EmploySmart™, is a robust new pre employment screening service certified for BS7858 to avoid negligent hiring liabilities and prevent horror stories and taboo tales within HR, your business, or your brand. 

VIEW EMPLOYSMART™ BROCHURE

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How the CRI® Group can help you tackle IP infringement

CRI® Group’s Intellectual Property Investigations team helps companies identify threats to IP and confidential information internally and throughout their supply chain, develop the appropriate mitigation strategies and investigate suspected infringements.

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For further information on IPR infringement or to book a meeting with our experts, click here.

Meet our IPR Infringement Investigation Manager

Mahamad Thouhid – e: mahamad.thouhid@crigroup.com – is an experienced Investigations Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the investigations and intelligence industry. Skilled in investigative planning and reporting, delivering innovative IP/Brand protection (Anti Counterfeit, Products tampering, Anti diversion and Infringement), OSINT, law enforcement, liaison with Govt. Authorities, operations management, due diligence, etc.


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Infringement of intellectual property rights

Suppose you suspect that your intellectual property (IP) rights have been infringed. In that case, CRI Group’s Intellectual Property Investigations team helps companies identify threats to IP and confidential information internally and throughout their supply chain, develop the appropriate mitigation strategies and investigate suspected infringements. Our experts can track intrusions, data manipulation and a range of “digital footprints.” With our findings you can take action. 

Patent infringement 

If someone uses your product or invention protected by a patent without authorization, you to prove it so you can defend your right and take action. Our investigative capabilities include gathering intelligence on the dark web and in the field, social network analysis, sample acquisition and testing.

CRI® Group’s IP experts understand the intricacies and importance of protecting your intellectual property. CRI® Group can stay a step ahead of the wrongdoers who want to benefit from your IP investment by working alongside a global network of anti-counterfeit investigators, consultants, advisors, and industry groups.

Our experts can track intrusions, data manipulation and a range of “digital footprints.” Additionally, we have strong working relationships with regulators, police forces and customs and enforcement agencies worldwide. Our investigations frequently form the basis of litigation or criminal prosecutions. 

Imitation of a branded good – Counterfeit products

If someone is selling a good bearing your trademark without your authorization, you are the victim of counterfeiting. If you suspect that certain goods infringe your IP rights, you outsource IP investigations services.

Our investigative capabilities include gathering intelligence on the dark web and in the field, social network analysis, sample acquisition and testing. CRI® Group’s IP experts understand the intricacies and importance of protecting your intellectual property. CRI® Group can stay a step ahead of the wrongdoers who want to benefit from your IP investment by working alongside a global network of anti-counterfeit investigators, consultants, advisors, and industry groups.

Our experts can track intrusions, data manipulation and a range of “digital footprints.” Additionally, we have strong working relationships with regulators, police forces and customs and enforcement agencies worldwide. Our investigations frequently form the basis of litigation or criminal prosecutions. 

IF YOU SUSPECT OF COUNTERFITING LET US KNOW NOW

To protect your products against counterfeiting, register with the Enforcement Database of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which puts you in direct communication with the relevant authorities. If you are an EU company and want to report a counterfeit in a country outside the EU, you can use the Anti-Counterfeiting Rapid Intelligence System (ACRIS).

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Infringement of trade secrets

To qualify as a trade secret, the information must:

  • Be known only to a limited group of persons
  • Be commercially valuable because it is secret, and
  • Be subject to reasonable steps taken by the rightful holder of the information to keep it secret, including the use of confidentiality agreements for business partners and employees.

The unauthorised acquisition, use or disclosure of such secret information in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices by others is regarded as an unfair practice and a violation of trade secret protection.

As an integral member of the ICC Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau, CRI® Group is certified to advise and assist organisations with intellectual property investigations involving grey market and product counterfeiting crimes.

CRI® Group investigators are specially trained to protect the brand equity and customer loyalty you’ve built by providing professional assistance in many areas, including Trade Secret Breaches.

In case of infringement of trade secrets, you can initiate a legal proceeding before a court. The outcome might be a court order prohibiting the infringer from using or further disclosing the trade secret and/or monetary compensation.

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Dispute over domain names

If you find out that someone has deceivingly registered a domain name whose IP rights belong to you, such as:

  • for one or more top-level extensions (like .eu, or .com.)
  • trade mark
  • a trading name

If this person tries to sell you such a domain, you are a victim of cybersquatting. In domain name dispute cases, you can either go to court or make good use of non-judicial remedies, including ICANN alternative proceedings. ​

2022 Key Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights Cases to Watch

IP practitioners are eagerly watching the court dockets for several high-impact cases related to IP issues (copyright, government liability and ethics) likely to be decided in the second half of 2022.

These decisions are expected to guide several IP law areas, including fair use of copyrights, government contractor defences, patent-eligible inventions, and the enablement requirement. 

Infringement of protected geographical indications

If your product protected by geographical indication has been counterfeited or there have been other infringements of geographical indication, you should contact the competent national authority.

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The cost of Infringement of your intellectual property rights

Counterfeiting threatens the fabric of national economies, endangers safety and frequently kills. It devalues corporate reputations, hinders investment, funds terrorism, and costs hundreds of thousands of people their livelihood annually. (ICC) Our IP Investigations include 1) Trademark Investigations; 2) Intellectual Property Acquisition Services; 3) Patent Investigations; 4) Brand, Media and Internet Monitoring Services; 5) Anti-Counterfeiting Programs; 6) Brand Integrity Programs; 7) Copyright Abuse Investigations; 8) Cyber Surveillance; and 9) Litigation Support.

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Take action against the infringement of your intellectual property rights now!

What is Fraud Investigation?

Fraud is one of the biggest and most damaging risks businesses face. The headlines are full of organisations both in the private and public sectors affected by fraud, irregularity or other wrongdoing – either as a victim or accused. Statistics show that the threat of Corporate Fraud increases markedly in a down economy. And when such fraud occurs, it takes an average of 18 months to detect. In that timeframe, the damage to your business can be both widespread and irreversible. The hidden costs related to corporate fraud drains an estimated five per cent of revenue from corporations worldwide.

Fraud Risk Assessment and Fraud Risk Management: A Proactive Approach to Prevention and Detection

Historically, most major corporate fraud cases have been perpetrated by senior management who can circumvent internal controls and often work in collusion with other employees. By establishing a strong workplace environment that promotes ethical behaviour, deters wrongdoing and encourages all employees to communicate any known or suspected activity to the proper authority, you would be taking a proactive approach to prevention and detection.

What is the fraud investigation process?

When fraud is suspected within the organisation, CRI® Group’s experienced fraud analysts use proven techniques to aggressively investigate the case, collect evidence and determine the facts. Once the type of fraud is determined, a process of gathering all evidence possible to bulk out the investigation case starts. Evidence can be collected through a variety of means and methods.

These methods include conducting detailed asset checks, background verifications, surveillance checks and stylised forms of investigation and analysis; including employee investigations and investigations of an entire business. Subsequently, the victims and potential fraudsters will be interviewed.  Our analysts work with your management, internal security and legal teams to uncover the truth and bring proper closure to the case.

Are you auditing your fraud prevention program regularly?

  • Review and assessment of your current fraud risk management program, including policies, procedures, controls, reporting functions, responsibilities assignment and investigative requirements to identify the organisation’s susceptibility to fraud and vulnerability by the department.
  • Developing fraud prevention measures and implementing Anti-fraud controls.
  • Defining detection methods that encompass internal audits, suspicious transaction reporting, whistle-blower strategies, and program enforcement.
  • Re-engineering targeted job functions or internal controls to mesh with fraud risk management program refinements.

Take extra precaution with Fraud and White-Collar Crime Investigations

Fraud and white-collar crime investigations and risk consulting services have helped financial institutions, corporations, partnerships, and individuals worldwide minimise fraud and thereby satisfy capital markets, reduce legal costs, and maintain their reputation and brand equity. CRI® Group’s global team of Certified Fraud Examiners are trained in virtually every aspect of corporate fraud, including:

  • Money Laundering
  • Intellectual Property Crimes
  • Embezzlement
  • Check & Credit Card Fraud
  • Online Cybercrime
  • Accounting Fraud
  • Cash Theft
  • Asset Misappropriation
  • Bribery
  • Corruption
  • Contract & Procurement Fraud
  • Payroll Fraud

CRI® Group develops preventative measures that have helped organisations worldwide identify a material weakness in internal controls to mitigate collusive activity and reduce the liabilities associated with corporate fraud. Our trained investigators leverage our collective investigative experience, leading technology tools, global reach and credibility with regulators to bring you insights with precision and speed.

Our international team of Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) work with companies to analyse and assess fraud prevention measures, develop solid risk management programs, provide training for executives, board, management and staff, establish effective communications strategies for reporting suspicious behaviour, and implement investigation and corrective action policies that meet regulatory and compliance requirements.

CRI® Group professionals work with your organisation on an unbiased level, strengthening your fraud risk management program by:

  • Adhering to the organisation’s written code of conduct
  • Reviewing existing fraud risk management programs
  • Training employees to properly identify fraud
  • Developing internal and external reporting channels
  • Identifying senior management, board and employee responsibilities
  • Conducting and monitoring the progress of investigations
  • Providing thorough reporting of investigative results
  • Testifying as expert witnesses, if required

Who is CRI® Group?

Based in London, CRI® Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceTPRMDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI® Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

CRI® Group invites you to schedule a quick appointment with us to discuss in more detail how our risk management solutions can help you and your organisation. 

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Why CRI® Group?

  • CRI® has one of the largest, most experienced & best-trained integrity due diligence teams in the world.
  • We have a flat structure which means that you will have direct access to senior members of staff throughout the due diligence process.
  • Our multi-lingual teams have conducted assignments on thousands of subjects in over 80 countries, & we’re committed to maintaining & constantly evolving our global network.
  • Our solutions are easily customisable, flexible & we will tailor our scope to address your concerns & risk areas; saving you time & money.
  • Our team of more than 50 full-time analysts is spread across Europe, Middle East, Asia, North and South America & is fully equiped with the local knowledge to serve your needs globally.
  • Our extensive solutions include due diligence, employee pre & post background screening, business intelligence & compliance, facilitating any decision-making across your business no matter what area or department.

In 2016, CRI® Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body that provides education and certification services for individuals and organisations on a wide range of disciplines and ISO standards, including ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management- GuidelinesISO 37000:2021 Governance of OrganisationsISO 37002:2021 Whistleblowing Management SystemISO 37301:2021 (formerly ISO 19600) Compliance Management system (CMS)Anti-Money Laundering (AML); and ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems ABMS. ABAC® offers a complete suite of solutions designed to help organisations mitigate the internal and external risks associated with operating in multi-jurisdiction and multi-cultural environments while assisting in developing frameworks for strategic compliance programs. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

How to protect your IP with brand protection investigations?

Intellectual Property (IP) is an exclusive right of the brand owner. This property includes intangible creations of the brand owners’ human intellect; therefore, the brand owners are lawful copyright or trademark owners. However, when unscrupulous individuals indulge in manufacturing and distributing counterfeit products of well-known brands, the result is the loss of sales, a tarnished brand image and erosion of brand loyalty, not to mention the ill effects of consumption by the consumer and the loss of revenue to the government. This is when Brand protection services are crucial to business integrity.

Counterfeiting threatens the fabric of national economies, endangers safety and frequently kills. It devalues corporate reputations, hinders investment, funds terrorism, and costs hundreds of thousands of people their livelihood annually. Companies and organizations face IP-related risks from a multitude of sources, namely:

  • From within the organization itself;
  • From entities in the ecosystem of the organization;
  • From competitors;
  • From independent 3rd parties; and/or
  • From illegal entities.

It is important to consider the risks to your intellectual property and take the steps necessary to protect your brand. Because of the potential complexity of IP investigations you should consider consulting experts. Investigators who are specially trained to protect the brand equity and customer loyalty you’ve built by providing professional assistance in the areas of:

  • Trade Secret Breaches
  • Data Breaches & IP Leaks
  • Theft of Proprietary Customer Data
  • Copyright Abuse
  • Unauthorized Use of Trademarks
  • Counterfeit & Pirated Products
  • Threats to Brand Integrity & Reputation
  • Brand Imitation & Product Copying
  • Global Counterfeiting Investigations

Getting help

Brand protection services can:

  • Research and investigate the legal aspects of copyright, trademark and patent claims
  • Identify the company and/or individuals that have breached your IP rights
  • Perform background and financial investigations on subjects involved in IP infringement
  • Pinpoint the source and location of the manufacturer in counterfeit product claims
  • Establish new delivery channels for the trade of your products

As an integral member of the ICC Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau, CRI® Group is certified to advise and assist organizations with intellectual property investigations involving grey market and product counterfeiting crimes.

CRI® Group utilizes various techniques, analytics, and global technology to investigate intellectual property infringements, including the use of international Counterfeiting Seizure Maps and International Anti-Counterfeiting Directories. Our strategic partnerships with IP firms worldwide ensure that leads are identified and investigated and claims are settled expeditiously.

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CRI® Group Intellectual Property (IP) Investigations:

  • Trademark Investigations
  • Intellectual Property Acquisition Services
  • Patent Investigations
  • Brand, Media and Internet Monitoring Services
  • Anti-Counterfeiting Programs
  • Brand Integrity Programs
  • Copyright Abuse Investigations
  • Cyber Surveillance
  • Litigation Support

 CRI® is an ideal partner to be the eyes and ears of brands across markets, offline and online. Our multidisciplinary experts regularly review and scan the online marketplaces to keep a close eye on fake products. From online surveillance to supply chain audits and real-time market surveys, brands will find CRI® the ideal long-term partner to keep a close eye on all markets. You, meanwhile, can focus on running the business and building your brand.

CRI® Group invites you to schedule a quick appointment with us to discuss in more detail how our Brand Protection Solutions can help you and your organization. 

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About CRI® Group

For short, Corporate Research and Investigations Limited, or CRI® Group, has protected businesses from fraud, bribery, and corruption since 1990. Globally, we are a leading Compliance and Risk Management company licensed and incorporated entity of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and Qatar Financial Center (QFC). CRI® protects businesses by establishing the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners, suppliers and customers seeking to affiliate with your business. Based in London, United Kingdom, CRI® is a global company with experts and resources in key regional marketplaces across the Asia Pacific, South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and North and South America. Our global team can support your organization anywhere in the world.

 

GDPR vs. UK-GDPR; the laws Post Brexit

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law that was implemented on the 25th of May 2018 and concentrates on data protection and confidentiality in the European Union and the European Economic Area; alongside this, the GDPR is also used to address the transmission of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. The EU Commission announced on 28 June 2021 that adequacy judgments for the UK have been passed, so what does that mean for the GDPR rules?

The Brexit transition phase concluded on the 31st of December 2020 and as a component of the new trade agreement, the EU has come to an agreement to postpone the transmission limitations for at least four months, which can then be stretched out to six months (recognised as the bridge). The European Commission published its draft decisions on the 19th of February 2021  regarding the UK’s adequacy under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) and Law Enforcement Directive (LED). In both cases, the European Commission has found the UK to be adequate which implies that much of the data can resume the stream from the EU and the EEA devoid of the need for supplementary precautions. Nevertheless, it is vital to take note of the fundamental reality that the adequacy decisions do not cover data conveyed to the UK for the principles of immigration control, or where the UK immigration immunity is appropriate. For this nature of data, distinct regulations are employed, and the EEA dispatcher wants to set other transfer safeguards in place. September 2021 saw WhatsApp being handed the second highest fine under EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules and the biggest fine ever from the Irish Data Protection Commission due to their lack of understanding towards the new GDPR laws – had they done their due diligence, they may have been able to avert such a hefty fine. Our Due diligence 360° services provide the specialised intelligence needed by global financial institutions and multinational corporations to guarantee complete compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and legislations.

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The draft decisions will at this point be deemed by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and a committee of the 27 EU Member Governments.  If the committee accepts the draft decisions, then the European Commission can formally adopt them as legal adequacy decisions.  If adequacy decisions are not implemented at the end of the bridge and allocations from the European Economic Area (EEA) to the UK will require compliance with EU GDPR transfer constraints.

What is the UK-GDPR?

The United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK-GDPR) is the UK’s national data privacy law that is the proxy for the EU’s GDPR after Brexit; it is fundamentally the equivalent to the EU’s GDPR but altered to accommodate national regions of regulation. The UK-GDPR will regulate personal data and demand the same legal grounds for managing personal data.

The GDPR is indeed still retained in domestic law as the UK GDPR, although the UK has the freedom to maintain the framework under evaluation. The ‘UK GDPR’ as it’s known as, rests adjacent to a revised edition of the DPA 2018. It is also essential to note that the fundamental ethics, constitutional rights, and responsibilities remain as they were but that there are connotations for the regulations on transmissions of individual data between the UK and the EEA.

The UK GDPR also pertains to regulators and processors established out of the UK if their managing pursuits correlate to:

  • presenting commodities or services to persons in the UK; or
  • supervising the conduct of persons taking place in the UK.

Similarly, there are also outcomes for UK regulators who have an institution in the EEA, have consumers in the EEA, or observe individuals in the EEA. The EU GDPR still pertains to this handling as data can still flow freely from the EEA because the EU have adopted adequacy decisions about the UK, but the European data protection mandates has altered the way you can interact. CRI® Group’s own exclusive, expert-developed 3PRM™ services help you proactively mitigate risks from third-party affiliations, protecting your organisation from liability, brand damage, and harm to the business. Whether your organisation has a large, well-established third-party program, is in the early stages of development, or is anywhere in between, the 3PRM™ solution can improve the health of your program and future-proof your entire business in many forms.

Find out more about 3PRM™ below or download our free brochure.

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Which rules apply?

Whilst the adequacy judgments stay in order, the UK GDPR is still valid and is expected to remain so until the 27th of June 2025. The EU Commission will be supervising advancements in the UK on a constant basis to guarantee that the UK will continue to deliver a comparable degree of data protection. The Commission is still able to revise, postpone, or rescind the decisions if concerns cannot be settled. EU data subjects or an EU data protection authority can also instigate a lawful dispute regarding the decisions in which the Court of Justice of the European union would then have to determine whether the UK did essentially deliver comparable security.

In the absenteeism of an EU GDPR adequacy decision, the Frozen GDPR would be valid to subjective data of the basis of if:

  • it was administered in the UK under the EU GDPR before 01 January 2021; or
  • it’s being administered in the UK on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement

Conversely, the UK-GDPR does increase on -and diverge from- the EU GDPR in noteworthy approaches that will make modifications to the legal environment of data protection in the UK.

UK-GDPR expands and changes the European GDPR

The areas increased on by the UK-GDPR are:

  • National security
  • Intelligence services
  • Immigration

These regions, are per definition, are outside the scope of the European GDPR the three of them are deemed to be extra-national regulation from the EU devoid of powers to govern affairs of national confidence in constituent nations. Nevertheless, the UK-GDPR sets out specific concessions by which the customary welfare of personal data can be circumvented, e.g., when in matters of national security or in matters of immigration. It also applies the same requirements for collection and processing of personal data to the intelligence services. A further significant change is that the Information Commissioner, who was the leading data protection authority in the UK today, became the primary director, monitor and enforcer of the UK-GDPR.

Are you post-Brexit GDPR compliant? 

The UK-GDR would now entail your organisation’s site or application to request for the user’s approval prior to accumulating and managing data via cookies. It involves that your organisation not amassing more data than is truly mandatory and to also make it as straightforward for your users to rescind authority to the application of data as it is to give it. Transparency is key in the UK-GDPR and requires clarification of how long data is stored and how you will be processing users’ personal data.

Let’s Talk!

It’s always great to have a helping hand when it comes to compliance and risk management – especially with all the new changes expected to take place ahead of securing the integrity and morality across corporate culture. Take a proactive stance with the highest level of expertise as a part of your essential corporate strategy. Contact us today to learn more about our full range of services to help your organisation stay protected.

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