Key insights on IP infringements in Europe

The European Commission recently released its annual Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) report, which provides valuable insights on the state of IP protection in the continent.

Country of Provenance 

During the reporting period, border officials seized 26,720,827 products suspected of IP infringements valued at approximately €738,125,867. In addition, 69,354 detention cases were also recorded by border enforcement agencies, with postal traffic and courier accounting for 84 percent of the total. 82.9 percent of all the goods seized were eventually destroyed with the permission of the goods’ owners and rights’ holders. 

China remains the top origin country for these products, accounting for 50.55 percent of the total. Bosnia and Herzegovina, though, came in a surprising second, with a 9.66 percent share of the pie, while Hong Kong (9.43), Cambodia (8.77), Turkey (7.02), Georgia (3.01), and Vietnam (2.36) round out the top seven countries on the list. 

Categories of Product

The top five illicit goods imported into Europe are:

  • Cigarettes at 15.6 percent, with Cambodia as the primary source country
  • Toys at 14.2 percent, with China at the top. Incidentally, China also supplies 80% of fake toys in the world
  • Packaging materials at 9.4 percent
  • Labels, tags and stickers at 8.9 percent
  • Clothing at 8.6 percent

The report also highlighted several emerging trends for counterfeit products, such as:

  • Macedonia produced the highest volume of counterfeit alcoholic beverages
  • Turkey is the chief source of fake perfumes and cosmetics
  • Hong Kong leads the table for fake watches, ink cartridges and toners. However, considering the small manufacturing industry in Hong Kong, these products are likely to have originated from mainland China.
  • India came on top for illicit computer equipment

Health and Safety Hazards

Aside from toys, 36.8 percent of the seized goods carry health and safety hazards for consumers, a 2.6 percent increase compared to 2016. These goods consist of medicines, food and beverages, body care articles, and household electrical appliances.

More on Brand Protection:

Brand protection in the toy industry

WIPO director general calls for more innovative IP protection solutions

#ImForReal - Take a stand against the market of counterfeit goods

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It bears reminding that the seized goods represent just a fraction of the illicit trade flooding into Europe on a daily basis.