Anti _ counterfeiting: the problems, the players and the missing piece of the puzzle
Anti-counterfeiting work includes many players - rights holders, customs officials, law enforcement, legislators, IP offices, intermediaries and consumers. In order to effectively enforce against counterfeiting, the International Trademark Association navigates this puzzling issue by connecting the different players together, one piece at a time, to get the big picture.
Counterfeiting - how the problem has grown
Counterfeits are often seen as a problem exclusively for brand owners. Counterfeiters have complex networks that cannot be stopped by the trademark owner alone. However, anti-counterfeiting work includes many players - rights holders, customs officials, law enforcement, legislators, IP offices, intermediaries and consumers. In order to effectively enforce against counterfeiting, the International Trademark Association (INTA) navigates this puzzling issue by connecting the different players together, one piece at a time, to get the big picture.
In order to develop a plan to tackle the puzzle, one must understand the problem. Last year, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) released their report "Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact". The report analyses nearly half a million customs seizures around the world from 2011 to 2013 to produce the most rigorous estimate to date of the scale of counterfeit trade. The results show that international trade in such products represented up to 2.5% of world trade, or as much as $461 billion. A previous study in 2008 estimated that counterfeit and pirated goods accounted for up to 1.9% of world imports, or up to $200 billion. The Frontier Economics report "Economic impacts of counterfeiting and piracy", which was commissioned by INTA and Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), found that the total international trade estimated for counterfeiting and piracy is forecast to reach $991 billion. In other words, the total trade for counterfeiting and piracy will increase fivefold in a 15-year period.
Similar increases in counterfeit activity have been reported in major markets. US seizure statistics for fiscal year 2015 report that the number of IP rights seizures in the United States increased by nearly 25% to 28,865, up from 23,140 in fiscal year 2014. The total estimated manufacturers' suggested retail price of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased by 10% to $1,352,495,341. The 2015 report on EU customs enforcement and IP rights stated that EU Customs seized over 40 million articles suspected of violating IP rights in 2015 - 5 million more than in 2014 (35 million).
Players in anti-counterfeiting and how INTA is supporting them
Customs is considered to be a large part of the solution and the first line of defence against counterfeiters. The OECD/EUIPO report reveals that the value of counterfeit and pirated products imported into the European Union was €85 billion in 2013. However, in that same year, the European Commission reported that EU Customs seized goods valued at €768 million. Just looking at the numbers, it seems that Customs is seizing less than 1% of counterfeits entering the European Union.