09 | 06 | 2021
EUIPO Published a Report Marking World Anti-Counterfeiting Day
On the occasion of World Anti-Counterfeiting Day, celebrated this year on 8 June, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has published a Report on the Risks and Damages Posed by Intellectual Property Infringements in Europe, launching this year's public awareness campaign on these issues.
Given the situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers in the past period have increasingly used the possibilities of electronic shopping and, according to Eurostat, more than 70% of Europeans in 2020 shopped online. The data show that as many as a third of Europeans were in doubt whether the product they bought was genuine or a counterfeit, from which it can be concluded that this issue is of great importance for European consumers and the safety of their choices when buying remotely.
The trade in counterfeit and pirated products is a growing global problem. Therefore, the OECD and EUIPO have conducted more research on these forms of illegal trafficking, with the aim of establishing the facts and gathering the evidence needed to adopt appropriate policies and strategies to combat these negative phenomena.
According to EUIPO and OECD research, counterfeits account for 6.8% of EU imports totaling € 121 billion, and counterfeits cover a variety of industrial sectors, from cosmetics, toys, wine and spirits, and electronic devices and clothing, all the way to pharmaceutical products sector and the pesticide production sector. Undoubtedly, these are products that are potentially extremely dangerous to the health and safety of consumers and to the safety of the environment. The greatest identified risk to humans and the environment is associated with exposure to hazardous chemicals.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about counterfeit products increased, especially due to the appearance of counterfeit drugs such as antibiotics and analgesics, but also other medical products such as personal protective equipment and face masks.
Although the largest numbers of seizures of counterfeit and pirated products in the customs procedure are products delivered to customers through postal items, the largest quantities and total value of seized counterfeits are recorded in maritime transport and in the transport of goods by container ships.
Digital piracy, on the other hand, is also a form of infringement of intellectual property rights. Recently, the cases of IPTV, i.e. television content transmitted via the Internet, have been particularly prominent, where it is estimated that providers of illegal IPTV in the European Union acquire almost 1 billion euros each year, which causes significant damage to content creators and legitimate economic entities operating in this sector.
Evidence gathered by the authorities suggests that organized crime groups are involved in activities involving infringements of intellectual property rights, and that these illegal activities are linked to other forms of serious crime, including money laundering, various document fraud, cybercrime and other serious criminal offenses.
Therefore, the fight against intellectual property crime has once again become one of the ten priorities of the European Union in the fight against organized crime.
Infringements of intellectual property rights are also a problem from the point of view of the European Union economy, and small and medium-sized enterprises (hereinafter: SMEs) suffer particular damage. The collected data show that every fourth SME in the European Union has suffered damage due to infringements of intellectual property rights, while for Croatia this figure is 21.7% of respondents.
Enterprises that are holders of intellectual property rights (trademarks, patents) suffer damage in the form of loss of income, negative impact on competitiveness, and damage to their reputation due to these forms of infringement of rights.
In order to support SMEs, EUIPO has set up an € 20 million SME Assistance Fund under the Ideas Powered for Business program, in cooperation with the European Commission and national and regional intellectual property offices intended for companies wishing to develop their intellectual property strategies and protect their intellectual property rights at national, regional or European Union level. You can read more information about this initiative here.
The EUIPO report on risks and damage posed by infringements of intellectual property rights in Europe is available in Croatian here, and infographics and appropriate video content with Croatian translation are also available.
We also refer interested users to a number of studies and recent research published by EUIPO, which can be accessed here.