The European Commission – Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union released its annual report on customs enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) late last month, offering insight into the volume and types of seizures by customs authorities of the 28 European Union (EU) member states during 2017.
According to the report, foodstuffs have now replaced cigarettes as the top category of seized fake articles, with 24 percent of these articles detained in 2017 (up from 13 percent in 2016). Other products that consumers use daily—such as toys, electrical goods, medicines, and health care—also had higher seizure rates, accounting for 42 percent of detained goods in 2017 (up from 34 percent in 2016).
Globally, EU customs stopped more than 31 million fake goods (down from 41 million in 2016), with a street value of EUR 580 million. While China was the main country of origin of most counterfeit goods (73 percent of all seizures), other countries rose to the top in specific product categories; this includes Turkey for clothing, India for medicines, Moldova for alcoholic beverages, and the United States for non-alcoholic beverages.
Regarding means of transport, courier and postal traffic accounted for 76 percent of the detentions, which mainly refer to products ordered via e-commerce. Of the detained articles, 74 percent were either destroyed or subject to court proceedings, while 24 percent were released (due to the rights holder’s lack of response to customs notification, or because the articles were found to be original or there was no infringement).
The report points out that rights holders may lodge an application requesting customs to take action in cases in which a suspicion exists that an IPR is infringed, and notes that the number of applications for action has shown a steady increase.
Commenting on the report, Pierre Moscovici, EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs said: “Stopping imports of counterfeits into the EU also supports jobs and the wider economy as a whole. The European Union stands in support of intellectual property and will continue our campaign to protect consumer health as well as protecting businesses from criminal infringement of their rights."
To see the full report, click here.