June 10, 2020: 22nd World Anti-Counterfeiting Day
June 10, 2020, is the 22nd World Anti-Counterfeiting Day. Created on the initiative of the members of the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Network (GACN), it aims to raise awareness among a broad audience of the reality and consequences of counterfeiting. Promoted by globalization, the progression of the Internet penetration rate and many other factors, the share that counterfeiting represents in the world market is continuously increasing, as evidenced by the most recent reports:
- OECD, Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, March 2019 ;
- EUIPO, Report on the enforcement of intellectual property rights: results at the borders and in member states, 2013-2017 ;
- European Commission, Report on the EU Customs enforcement of intellectual property rights: results at the EU border, 2018 ;
- U.S. Homeland Security, Intellectual Property Rights Fiscal Year 2018 Seizure Statistics;
- EUIPO and Europol, Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment 2019 ;
- EUIPO, Qualitative Study on Risks Posed by Counterfeits to Consumers, June 2019 ;
- EUIPO, 2019 Status Report on IPR Infringement.
For a long time, counterfeiters focused almost exclusively on sports and luxury brands, so as to take full advantage of the notoriety and investments made by companies in these sectors. For several years, counterfeiters have diversified their targets. Luxury and sports brands are not saved, on the contrary. They remain prime targets. However, most industrial sectors are now facing counterfeiting. The range of counterfeit goods has become so vast that one wonders which industry is exempt. Throughout 2019, we held a monthly and international press review on counterfeiting (iptwins.com). The impression is staggering: counterfeiting affects all sectors and companies of all sizes. Several factors, including the following, can explain this phenomenon:
- better organization of counterfeiters;
- with globalization, access to new markets;
- the overall increase in Internet penetration;
- the multiplication of distribution channels, in particular, marketplaces and social networks;
- competition between counterfeiters, which leads some of them to seek new markets;
- the development of technologies facilitating the reproduction of goods.
The consequences of counterfeiting, on economics (see the aforementioned reports), environment (Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit trade, Mapping the impact of illicit trade on the sustainable development goals, 2019), health (European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & Healthcare (EDQMH), Council of Europe, Counterfeit Medicines: Facts and practical advice, 2019) and safety (EUIPO, Qualitative Study on Risks Posed by Counterfeits to Consumers, June 2019), are considerable and sometimes tragic.
The World Anti-Counterfeiting Day aims to raise awareness among the general public and to change the perception of consumers regarding counterfeit goods. In this perspective, it is the youngest who are in the targeted. According to a study made for Union des Fabricants (UNIFAB), producers of goods intended for a young audience seem to be the most exposed to online counterfeiting (iptwins.com, June 5, 2019). This trend is supported by a recent study of the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO, 2019 Intellectual Property and Youth Scoreboard, October 2019). This is why stakeholders are making efforts to warn young people through awareness campaigns.
In this regard, the World Intellectual Property Organization has created a useful database of materials used in intellectual property awareness campaigns deployed by the authorities and / or by owners of intellectual property rights or representative associations (wipo.int). This tool is a collection of messages that deserve to be brought to the attention of young audiences.