35.5 Million Counterfeit Goods Seized in 2014 by EU Customs Authorities

The European Commission (EC) has recently published a report on the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the European Union (EU). According to the report, authorities detained 35.5 million individual items of fake or counterfeit goods in 2014 totaling over €617 million (USD$566 million). This high number of detentions can be linked to the large amount of small parcels in express and postal traffic due to the rise in internet sales.

Thailand was in the lead for fake ink cartridges and Malaysia topped the list for counterfeit mobile phone accessories. In more than 90% of detentions, seized goods were either destroyed or brought to court to determine whether infringement had been committed.

In June 2013, a new Regulation on IPR enforcement at customs was adopted. This Regulation has been applied across the EU since 1 January 2015 and strengthens the rules to protect intellectual property.

The main changes introduced to customs rules were the following:

  • A change to the procedure for the destruction of goods suspected of infringing intellectual property. Such goods can now be destroyed by customs control when they are suspected of infringing an IPR, and without the need to initiate a legal proceeding to determine the existence of an infringement.
  • The introduction of a new procedure for the simplified destruction of small consignments. Such procedures may be applied, provided that the right-holder of an intellectual property has asked for it to be applied if an infringement occurs.

As a result of this new procedure on small consignments, the overall number of detentions increased in 2014, proving the success of the fight against counterfeit goods. Since 2014, EU customs notices are administered through an online database, the anti-Counterfeit and anti-Piracy Information System (COPIS), which is used by customs authorities to register the applications for actions from rights-holders and all infringements. Each case is registered according to the category of goods and right-holder.

Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “The protection of intellectual property should be a priority if we are serious about promoting innovation and creativity within the EU. This is also key for the health and safety of European consumers and for job creation. Our customs authorities burdened with vital work in fighting against the import of counterfeit goods and the infringement of intellectual property rights.”

The Commission’s report on customs actions to enforce IPR has been issued annually since 2000 and is based on data transmitted by Member States’ customs administrations to the Commission. The report also provides valuable information which can support the analysis of IPR infringements affecting the EU market and the development of appropriate counter-measures, for example, statistics can be shared with originating countries in order to better address and identify infringements.



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