To mark World Anti-Counterfeiting Day (June 6), the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has released a series of updated information on the global scope and scale of counterfeiting and piracy.
EUIPO presents a ”harrowing and disturbing” picture of how intellectual property (IP) crime has taken an international hold and is feeding organised crime with enormous amounts of uncontrolled cash, which is driving worldwide criminality.
As this happens, businesses and governments are being starved of finances, which could be re-invested to create legitimate jobs and support vital public services. Moreover, consumers are under greater threat than ever from a growing rise in fakes that threaten health and lives.
EUIPO reports that not only has the internet been infiltrated and used to sell and distribute fake products and digital copies, but criminals are gaining even more revenue through illicit advertising, which often competes with legitimate businesses.
A number of joint research studies involving the EUIPO’s Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and the OECD have confirmed that the international trade in fake products is now worth €121bn per year. In addition, 11 of the EU’s top business sectors suffer annual losses of more than €60bn, leading to 468,000 job losses.
However, through the Observatory and its international associates, EUIPO is fighting back. Working closely with public and private sector partners, such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), more and more telling information is being fed to enforcement bodies and other Government authorities to help build a clearer picture of the IP crime landscape. In turn this is helping to more clearly inform consumers and focus essential enforcement resources. Moreover, EUIPO is now funding a specialised crime unit within Europol to help tackle the problem on the ground.
In the UK, ACG is using the widest range of available intelligence and information to, not only drive more effective enforcement partnerships, but to build more compelling narratives to help educate consumers and raise even greater levels of awareness amongst policy makers and decision takers about the growing and menacing threats associated with IP crime.