Shoes, clothes, electronics, toys and cosmetics. Despite a major effort, illicit trade in illegal counterfeit and pirated goods is still a massive problem. A new report from OECD and EUIPO (the European Union Intellectual Property Office) concludes that despite a decline since 2016, there has been no decrease in the illegal trade in counterfeit and pirated goods since 2013.
According to the report, trade in counterfeit and pirated goods amounts to up to 2.5 per cent of the total world trade as opposed to 3.3 per cent in 2016 and 2.5 per cent in 2013. At the same time, it is estimated that the import of counterfeit and pirated goods to the EU amounts to 5.8 per cent of the total import or 119 billion Euro per year.
‘It is still alarmingly large numbers that make an impression. There is no doubt that the trade in illegal counterfeit and pirated goods still poses a massive problem and is a direct attack on law-abiding companies, jobs and consumer safety. Combating illegal trade in counterfeit and pirated goods therefore still requires a focused and coordinated effort,’ says Barbara Suhr-Jessen, Head of Department at the Danish Patent and Trademark Office, who coordinates the cooperation in Denmark between 12 authorities combating counterfeit and pirated goods.
Danish companies are some of the most vulnerable
In the survey's overview of customs’ detentions of illegal counterfeit and pirated goods, Denmark is at the very top of the list of OECD countries whose companies are most often targeted by counterfeiters.
The study is primarily based on data gathered before the corona pandemic. However, the report highlights that the rising e-commerce during the epidemic has led to a massive increase in the supply of counterfeit and pirated goods on different online platforms, including social media.
‘The massive trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is a global problem which must be combated with various means. In Denmark, we do a lot, but organised criminals constantly find new ways to sell fake products and cheat consumers. This has major implications for legitimate companies that invest effort and resources in building a successful business. Therefore, it is good news that it has recently been decided at EU level to include the fight against counterfeit and pirated goods in the 10 priority areas to fight serious and organised crime. This is expected to strengthen the fight against counterfeiting in the EU,’ says Barbara Suhr-Jessen.
According to the report, counterfeit and pirated goods can be traced to several different countries, but, by far, China remains the largest exporter of illegal counterfeit and pirated goods.
Previous reports from EUIPO conclude that in Denmark, trade in counterfeit and pirated goods result in an annual loss of 4.2 per cent of direct sales within 11 sectors. This corresponds to DKK 6.17 billion in lost sales for businesses and almost 4000 lost jobs in Denmark. Across the EU, trade in counterfeit and pirated goods result in 468,000 lost jobs as well as lost sales for businesses in 11 sectors amounting to up to DKK 446 billion annually.
Read the report from OECD and EUIPO.
For guidance to businesses on how to prevent fakes, please visit our information site on counterfeiting and piracy. Here, you can also read about opportunities for actions in case infringement has already taken place.