€121 billion of EU Imports are fakes
The IP infringement problem has grown even more serious in recent years. This is what the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has said in its 2019 Status Report on IPR Infringement, which focuses on 'the importance of intellectual property rights, the infringement of intellectual property rights and the actions taken to combat it'. The report comes from the EUIPO tracking the economic impact of counterfeiting within the EU between 2012 to 2016.
Through the European Observatory on the Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights (Observatory), this latest EUIPO research has found that up to 6.8% of EU imports, or €121 billion per year, consists of fake goods. This is significantly higher than the figures published in its 2016 study.
A staggering EUR 60 billion is lost each year in the EU due to counterfeiting according to the report which focusses on 11 key sectors; cosmetics and personal care; clothing, footwear and accessories; sports goods; toys and games; jewellery and watches; handbags and luggage; recorded music; spirits and wine; pharmaceuticals; pesticides; and smartphones.
In the United Kingdom alone, annual losses due to counterfeiting and piracy are estimated at GBP 5.98 billion, and when taken as a whole, the total value of the lost sales is equivalent to GBP 92 per UK citizen per year.
The report also sheds light on how IP infringement is an attractive and lucrative activity for criminal gangs, which subsequently causes significant costs not only to the rights owners but the economy in general also.
The EUIPO, together with public and private partners, is planning a number of actions to assist rights owners with IP Protection, to provide governements and associations with anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting measures and to make consumers aware of the economic and social impact that purchasing counterfeit goods and accessing illegal digital content has.