Fakes reduce sales in legitimate EU industries by an average of 7.4 per cent – about 468,000 jobs are destroyed each year. This is the alarming result of the latest Status Report on IPR Infringement published by the EUIPO (the European Union Intellectual Property Office). The report combines findings from research into eleven important economic sectors.
According to the EUIPO, counterfeiting causes annual sales losses of about 60 billion euros in the eleven sectors considered alone – in total, losses across EU industries are estimated at even 92 billion euros. The analysis focused on industries which are particularly affected by IP infringements – including smartphones, pharmaceuticals, toys, sporting goods, jewelry and watches, as well as spirits and wine, among others.
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For most sectors, the EUIPO notes a slight overall decrease in sales losses year on year, compared to the first EUIPO analysis in 2018. However, some industries do not follow this trend, such as the clothing, shoes, and accessories business, for example – this sector also has to cope with the highest losses due to counterfeiting, according to the EUIPO.
China and Hong Kong once again top the list of frequent countries of origin for counterfeit imports into the EU, the report shows. However, other countries such as India, Morocco, and Malaysia are also becoming increasingly important. The EUIPO also emphasizes the increasing influence of counterfeit production within Europe, which is fueled by lower distribution costs and risks for counterfeiters.
When transporting their illicit goods, counterfeiters are increasingly using small shipments to avoid detection by customs authorities, the report notes. New transport routes such as the growing rail network between Europe and China are also gaining importance. However, most fakes are still imported into the EU via container shipments.
In the fight against IP infringement, the EUIPO stresses the importance of educating the public: “We carry out this analysis, and our wider body of research, to support policy makers in devising solutions to this problem, and to help make EU consumers aware of the economic consequences of counterfeiting and piracy at a wider level,” said Christian Archambeau, Executive Director of the EUIPO.