10th March 2022

Pandemic boosts counterfeiting

New reports from the ACG and Europol show the extent to which counterfeiting has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team

The latest Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment reveals the extent to which criminal networks made profits from counterfeiting at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

International organised crime groups were quick to exploit the opportunities presented by the pandemic and swiftly intensified the manufacture and production of often dangerous fake products to meet growing demand from consumers making purchases online.

The IP Crime Threat Assessment, produced by Europol and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shows significant increases of imported healthcare products from China, which grew by 900% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 2019.

The pandemic also accelerated e-commerce; between 2018 and 2020 online retail sales increased by 41%. According to the report counterfeit and pirated goods in the EU now have an estimated value of €119bn, representing up to 5.8 % of all imports.

The findings tie with the latest Anti-Counterfeit Group (ACG) Annual Report. ACG Director General, Phil Lewis, said: “Despite the obvious threats, restrictions, and interruptions, ACG and its partners have worked even more diligently to combat the dangers, to help protect our members and society in general.”

The report highlights that in 2021 the ACG has been involved in 52 raid actions, seizing more than £11 worth of counterfeit goods. It has also generated 56 global and stakeholder partnerships with companies such as Facebook and Amazon, to take down online listings of counterfeit goods.

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