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October 13
Important Anticounterfeiting Reports Released in Europe
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European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Alicante, Spain

​The European Commission Report on Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

On September 23, 2016, the European Commission-Directorate-General Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD) released its annual report detailing the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the European Union (EU) in 2015. The report gathered data from each member state’s administration in accordance with EU customs legislation. 

In 2015, EU customs seized over 40 million articles suspected of violating IPRs, 5 million more than in 2014 (35 million). The 40 million articles seized in 2015 had an estimated value of €642,108,323, with the top category of detained articles being cigarettes (27%), followed by other goods (10%), toys (9%), labels, tags, and stickers (8%) and foodstuff (7%). Compared with 2014, labels, tags, and stickers are the only additions to the top five category of items seized. In more than 91% of detentions, goods were either destroyed, or the rights-holder initiated a court case to establish IPR infringement. 

The report also found that postal and courier traffic still accounted for 77% of all detentions, even if postal traffic went down by 20%. The top category of items detained through postal traffic was electronic equipment (32%) followed by medicine (16%). Additionally, goods were destroyed under the small consignment procedure in 22% of all cases. 

China remained the main country where IPR infringing goods were coming from with 41%. As in former years, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, and India remained in the “top 7”, with additions from Benin and Montenegro for 2015. Benin and Montenegro were added to the “top 5” as a result of detentions of foodstuffs from Benin and cigarettes from Montenegro. 

Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, commented that the “Commission will continue to work with customs authorities, international partners, and industry to ensure a high level of protection for intellectual property rights in the EU.”

The full report can be found here. 

EUIPO Releases Study on Voluntary Collaboration Practices in Addressing Online Infringement 

The EUIPO, acting through The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights (Observatory), released a study on Voluntary Collaboration Practices in Addressing Online Infringement on September 23. The EUIPO, through EU Regulation 386/2012, is tasked with facilitating and supporting the activities of national authorities, the private sector, and the EU institutions in their fight against the infringement of intellectual property rights. 

Voluntary collaboration practices (VCPs) refer to practices developed by industry, public bodies, and/or third parties, which are then followed by the respective industry. In the study, six VCPs were selected for an in-depth assessment to analyze how the VCPs addressed online infringements of trade mark rights, design rights, copyrights, and rights related to copyright. The study analyzed in detail the procedures, scope, IP rights covered, costs, enforcement, and effectiveness of each VCP, along with an analysis of the VCP in relation to different laws and regulations of the individual country and of the EU as a whole for VCPs located in member states. Additionally, the study examined the similarities and differences between the VCPs.

The full report can be found here 

The Economic Cost of IPR Infringement in the Pharmaceutical Industry 

On September 29, 2016, The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights (Observatory) published its ninth sectorial study on the impacts of counterfeits in the pharmaceutical industry. The Observatory previously published sectorial studies on: cosmetics and personal care; clothing, footwear, and accessories; sports goods; toys and games; jewelry and watches; handbags and luggage; recorded music; and spirits and wine. In these studies, the Observatory analyzes the negative impact of counterfeiting on businesses, governments, and consumers. 

Some highlights of the study include:

  • €10 billion in revenue is lost to legitimate businesses annually due to the presence of counterfeit medicines in the EU marketplace—approximately 4.4% of the sector’s sales
  • Italy (€1,590 million) and Spain (€1,170 million) had the biggest impact loss as a result of counterfeit medicine
  • 37,700 jobs are lost across the EU in the legitimate pharmaceutical industry as a result of counterfeiting
  • An additional €7.1 billion are lost in other sectors as a result of the indirect impact of counterfeits
  • Total loss of government revenue roughly estimated to be €1.7 billion.​.

The link to the full study is available here

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