This blog was co-authored with INTA Manager, Anticounterfeiting, Maysa Razavi.
Three studies released this month highlight the intellectual property (IP) landscape in the European Union, including a look at the current state of counterfeiting in the region.
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) jointly published two of the studies. They explore the ever-increasing contribution of trademarks to job creation and the economy in the EU, as well as the ongoing pressing issue of counterfeit products at EU borders and in member states.
The studies, released on September 19 and September 25 respectively, are: the third update of “Intellectual property rights intensive industries and economic performance in the European Union,” and the new “Report on the EU enforcement of intellectual property rights: results at the EU borders and in Member States 2013‒2017.”
The first study, which covers 2014‒2016, highlights the strong contribution of IP rights (IPR)-intensive industries to the economic health of the EU. The major findings include:
- More contribution to the economy and more jobs. Industries that use IPRs such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and copyright contribute EUR 6.6 trillion or 45 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the EU every year and generate 63 million jobs (29% of all EU jobs). This reflects an increase of three percent to the EU economy and one percent in job growth compared to 2011‒2013.
- Higher wages. IPR-intensive industries pay on average 47 percent more in wages than other sectors, a one percent increase compared to 2011‒2013.
- IPR-intensive industries counterbalance small deficit in non-IPR intensive trade. IPR-intensive industries also account for most of the EU's trade in goods and services with the other regions of the world (81%). This represents a slight decrease since 2011‒2013, which is attributed mostly to the decrease of EU trade overall. Indeed, the EU as a whole had an overall trade surplus in IPR-intensive industries of approximately EUR 182 billion in 2016, counterbalancing a small deficit in non-IPR intensive trade.
- Trademarks are the main driver, followed by designs. Industries that make intensive use of trademarks contribute 37 percent to the EU’s GDP and support 46.7 million jobs. Industries that use design rights contribute 16.2 percent to the EU’s total GDP and account for 30.7 million direct jobs.
The second study focuses on fake goods detained by customs at the EU borders and in member states for the 2013‒2017 period. The main findings are as follows:
- One fake item detained per EU citizen. Between 2013 and 2017, approximately 438 million fake items were detained in the EU—equating to one fake item detained per EU citizen (aged 15 years and over). Of these goods, 60‒70 percent were detained in the national markets of member states, and 30‒40 percent were detained at EU borders.
- The value of fakes detained equals the GDP of Malta. The estimated value of fake items detained in the EU amounts to approximately EUR 12 billion—almost equivalent to the 2018 GDP of Malta, an EU member state. About 70‒85 percent of the total value of the items was accounted for by detentions in the national markets, while the remainder was detained at EU borders.
- Ten member states account for almost 90 percent of the number of items and 95 percent of the estimated value of the fake items detained. Italy recorded the highest individual figures, with 54 percent by volume and 60 percent by estimated value. There is no data currently available for national market detentions in some of the larger member states, such as Germany, Poland, and for part of the United Kingdom.
- Fake clothing accessories and toys mark the highest number of detentions. In terms of volume, the four most common subcategories of detained products, accounting for more than 33 percent of the products recorded, were clothing accessories, toys, recorded CDs/DVDs, and cigarettes.
- Trademark-infringing items rank first in detention by volume and estimated value. Trademark infringement accounted for almost 70 percent by volume and 54 percent by estimated value of detentions at EU borders and in the national markets.
Source: EUIPO and EPO
- Detentions at EU borders have decreased since 2014. Following a peak in 2014, detention of counterfeit goods by customs authorities have gradually decreased through 2017. The estimated value of the detained goods has also decreased, though at a slower pace in three of the years; they rose in 2015 and 2016.
The findings show an increase in the number of cases and procedures conducted by customs officials, but fewer goods seized. The numbers indicate that officials are looking more closely at small parcels coming into the EU. Cigarettes (15.6%) topped the list of fake goods seized, followed by toys (14.2 %); packaging material (9.4 %); labels, tags, and stickers (8.9 %); and clothing (8.6 %).
The top countries of origins for these goods included China (50.5 %), Bosnia and Herzegovina (9.66 %), Hong Kong (9.43 %), Cambodia (8.77 %), and Turkey 7.02 %.
Source: EU Commission
Given the findings of these new studies, public education and strong IPR protection remain important tools for highlighting the value of trademarks and preventing the proliferation of counterfeit goods.
INTA advocates at the national and international levels to strengthen anticounterfeiting laws and enforcement, to increase governments’ cooperation to eliminate linkages between counterfeiting and organized crime, and to emphasize the serious threats posed by counterfeiting to the health and safety of consumers, economies, and national security.
In addition, the Association supports the development and passage of legislation, regulations, and trade agreements throughout the world that increase national and international enforcement mechanisms against counterfeiting. Through the organization’s Anticounterfeiting Committee, the Unreal Campaign
Committee, and partnerships with governments and other organizations, INTA emphasizes the importance of strong anticounterfeiting measures and increased awareness of the harms of counterfeiting.
For more information about the EU reports, please contact Hadrien Valembois, INTA Policy Officer, Europe, at firstname.lastname@example.org
. For more information on INTA’s anticounterfeiting work, please contact Maysa Razavi, INTA Manager, Anticounterfeiting, at email@example.com
. For more information about the Unreal Campaign, please contact Catherine Shen, INTA Associate, Strategic Partnerships & Unreal Campaign, at firstname.lastname@example.org