Today sees the release of the latest situation report into counterfeiting in Europe, prepared by Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). This report was presented at the IP Enforcement Summit in Berlin, an event organised by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, EUIPO and the European Commission.
This report establishes that organised criminal groups are involved in IPR crime. It also finds that EU-based criminal gangs involved in distributing counterfeit goods rely predominantly on manufacturers based abroad, but then organise importation, transportation, storage and distribution of the counterfeit goods within the EU. The majority of counterfeit goods come from China: the development of the Silk Road and the corresponding increasing use of rail and maritime transport between China and the EU support also new threats in the IPR crime landscape.
Some counterfeiters, however, manufacture directly within the EU’s borders using fake labels and packaging imported from outside the EU.
Counterfeit goods are increasingly distributed via online marketplaces. Products sold on the internet are usually distributed in small parcels via postal and express freight services, often directly to customers, and the growing role of technologies in IPR crime has been noted.
Rob Wainwright, Europol’s Executive Director, said: 'Intellectual property crime is extensive in the EU and carries very many adverse effects. It harms our economies, generates enormous illicit profits for organised crime groups, and often causes direct physical harm to citizens in the form of the growing supply of fake health and safety goods. This report shines a light on the extent of this criminal phenomenon and calls for more concerted, cross-border action in response.'