Friday, 7 October 2016

Increase in number of counterfeit goods seized by customs authorities in the EU in 2015

On 23 September, the European Commission published its report on the results of the border measures against infringement of industrial and intellectual property rights in 2015.

According to the report, in 2015 a total of 40,728,675 products suspected of infringing IP rights were seized at customs in the EU, representing a 14% increase with respect to the 35,568,982 products seized in 2014. The value of the goods seized in the EU in 2015 was more than 642 million euros.

In the case of Spain, the increase in the number of goods seized in 2015 was even greater: the number increased by 17% with respect to 2014 (1,893,019 products seized in 2015, compared with 1,619,264 products seized in 2014). Spain is still in the top 10 of EU countries with the largest number of items seized, specifically in 9th position.

The level of effectiveness of the border measures provided for under (EU) Regulation No. 608/2013 is very high: the goods detained were destroyed in 80% of cases, legal proceedings were undertaken in 9% of cases and the goods were only found to be genuine in 2.7% of cases.

China continues to be the main country of provenance of goods seized by customs in the EU (40%). By category, the main countries of provenance for the goods were the following: Benin (foodstuffs), Mexico (alcoholic beverages), Morocco (other beverages), Malaysia (body care products), Turkey (clothing), Hong Kong (mobile telephones and accessories, memory cards, computer equipment, CDs/DVDs and lighters), Montenegro (cigarettes) and India (medicines).

Products for daily use that could pose a danger to the health and safety of consumers (such as foods, beverages, toiletries, medicines, electrical appliances, toys, etc.) make up 25.8% of the total seizures.

The most used modes of transport, per number of seizures, are still postal and courier deliveries (77% of seizures), commonly in response to purchases made online.

The principal categories of goods seized in 2015 were cigarettes (27% of seizures), other goods, such as batteries, glue, furniture and lamps, manuals and other documents, magnets, pesticides, etc. (10%), toys (9%), labels, tags and stickers (8%) and foodstuffs (7%).

It is striking that labels, tags and stickers have risen to the top 5 on the list of goods seized in 2015, which would appear to confirm the latest technique used by criminal counterfeiting organizations of importing unbranded articles, separately importing branded labels and stickers and subsequently affixing the brands to the articles once in the EU. This technique was highlighted by Europol and the EUIPO in their 2015 Situation Report on Counterfeiting in the European Union of April 2015.

Author: Juan José Caselles

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