After the EU Commission published its mid-term report on the Digital Single Market strategy, many companies are now calling for a stronger focus on protection against piracy. Numerous German companies are among those appealing to the EU authority.

Around 80 companies, including 40 manufacturers of well-known brands from Germany, issued a positive joint statement regarding the progress that has been made by the European Commission in the implementation of the Digital Single Market strategy. There was some criticism, however, regarding the fact that the protection against product counterfeiting does not play a sufficient role, although it significantly contributes to consumer protection and the stabilisation of the economy.

The trading of counterfeits causes an annual loss of around 340 billion euros according to a joint survey by EUIPO and OECD (the Office of the European Union for Intellectual Property and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). Additionally, 10% of all respondents in a recent EU survey stated to have already fallen victim to counterfeiting (we reported).

The companies are therefore demanding that actions targeting the illicit trade of counterfeits be included in the Digital Single Market strategy and that all those working along the digital distribution chain become closley involved in the fight against product and brand piracy. One possible step could be the expansion and legal codification of the responsibilities of online trade hosting providers.

“With the creation of a European digital single market, Europe has the opportunity to position itself as a pioneer in the fight against criminal product and brand piracy. A measure that the European legislature could implement immediately, is the introduction of due diligence for digital sales platforms,” explains Christian Köhler, CEO of the German Markenverband e. V. “Protecting consumers and brand manufacturers from criminal counterfeiters in online trading is an important building block for the competitiveness of Europe, and the EU Commission can no longer be blind to it,” Köhler concludes.

The joint declaration of the brand manufacturers is available on the website of the European Brands Association AIM.

Sources: Markenverband e. V., AIM - the European Brands Association