EUIPO gauges economic impact of counterfeit goods

Counterfeit goods worth around €112bn were imported into the EU in 2016, says the EU Intellectual Property Officer (EUIPO), a sizeable uptick from the level seen in an earlier study.

The tally is equivalent to 6.8 per cent of total EU imports, up from 5 per cent – with a value of €85bn – in 2013.

Drilling down into the data, direct lost sales amount to €56bn per year, says the report, and that corresponds to an employment loss of almost 468,000 jobs. Add in the knock-on effects on other supply chain actors and the tally reaches €92bn, with another €16bn in lost taxes and social security contributions.

The study focuses on 11 industrial categories that rely heavily on IP, namely smartphones; pesticides and agrochemicals; pharmaceuticals; spirits and wine; recorded music; jewellery and watches; handbags and luggage; toys and games; sports goods; clothing and accessories; and cosmetics/personal care.

On average, lost sales due to counterfeits were around 7.4 per cent of total sales, with cosmetics most affected on that measure (10.5 per cent), followed by pesticides/agrochemicals (9.8 per cent) and clothing and accessories (9.7 per cent).

About 30-40 per cent of infringing goods were detained at EU borders, but the majority (60-70 per cent) got through customs checks and were discovered within the internal EU market.

Christian Archambeau, executive director of the EUIPO commented: “Europe depends on industrial sectors like the 11 sectors studied here for its growth and job creation. But our research work shows how counterfeiting and piracy can put growth and jobs at risk.”

“We carry out this analysis, and our wider body of research, to support policymakers in devising solutions to this problem, and to help make EU consumers aware of the economic consequences of counterfeiting and piracy at a wider level.”

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