A new report from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has revealed that the internet and social media are increasingly being used to benefit counterfeiters in the EU as a result of advertising revenue.
The report, released earlier this month, collated research carried out by the EUIPO’s EU Observatory in conjunction with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
According to the report, counterfeiting would cause a loss of 60 billion euros to 13 economic sectors of the European Union, from fashion to toys, including pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, wines… For these sectors, the presence of counterfeit products in the market leads to direct annual losses representing 7.5% of their sales.
EUIPO believes that counterfeiters have benefited from a significant growth of e-commerce, in particular marketplaces, which according to the authors, are “increasingly becoming an important source of income for criminal groups engaged in the sale of both counterfeit products and pirated digital content (such as films, TV, music, e-books and games)”.
Most especially, says the EUIPO, “Counterfeiting has diversified from traditional activities centred on luxury and branded goods, towards pharmaceutical products, electronic goods, household and cosmetic products, automotive spare parts, pesticides, toys, food and beverages and technical products, such as bearings and electronic components”.
Methods of counterfeiters are also changing. These products mainly coming from Hong Kong, China, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Greece, among others.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that 5% of EU imports are counterfeits. “The majority of products come from Asia, mostly by large boats. When they arrive at the border of the European Union, they are reconditioned in small packages in countries like Albania, Ukraine, Morocco or Egypt, and sent by post to arrive, passing more easily customs controls up to the final consumer“.
According to the report, 10% of European consumers admitted to buying counterfeit products, as well as intentionally downloading or distributing illegal content in the last twelve months. “Lower prices, easier access to counterfeit products and a high degree of social acceptability in some countries” are all reasons that, according to EUIPO, that consumers continue to buy fake goods despite the risks involved, “including the health and safety consequences, lower quality or performance, the risk of legal action and the awareness that organized crime is being supported“.
Finally, The EUIPO recognized lenient penalties and high returns on investment as strong incentives for “criminal gangs” to become more involved with counterfeiting. In addition, the report said that such criminal organizations are using the internet to promote and distribute physical goods and illegal digital data throughout the world.
IP Twins is able to proceed with the removal of counterfeit products from market places. Do not hesitate to contact us.