Illegal Products

The regulation on a single market for digital services or digital services act  proposed by the European Commission in 2020 would extend the scope of potential violations for spreading illegal content to include illegal products.Though not yet clearly defined, these products would likely fall into two categories: goods that infringe intellectual property rights, such as counterfeit and pirated articles; and dangerous or non-legally compliant goods, such as endangered species or explosives.

To date, online trade in these areas has been managed through a process of “self-regulation” similar to the ones that already govern Internet activities in problem places such as hate speech and the fight against terrorism. As regards illegal goods, two multistakeholder agreements sit at the centre of the system:

There is also a well-developed legal infrastructure for dealing with trade in illegal products, including the general product safety directive (2001), the regulation concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals (2012), the directive on combating terrorism (2017) and the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES).

But despite this plethora of initiatives, there is still no standard definition for what does or does not constitute a “counterfeit” or “pirated” good in the EU. The regulation on customs enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) infringements, for one, defines counterfeit goods as goods that infringe on trademark or geographical indications. But in other agreements to which the EU is signatory and which the EU routinely uses as a basis for its own rulemaking, such as the World Trade Organisation agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS), counterfeit goods are defined as goods that infringe on trademarks only. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union Intellectual Property Office have an even broader definition. In Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, the OECD and EUIPO include in the definition of counterfeit “goods that infringe trademarks, design rights or patents.”


 

Records 1 - 10 of 12


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Amount of Listings Removed as a Result of an Alleged Infringement of the Right Owners' IPR (2016-2019)

The chart presents the key performance indicators for monitoring the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Sale of Counterfeit Goods, over the period 2016 - 2019. The results of the report show that the platforms’ pro-active measures are the main driver for the amount of listings removed, as they accounted for 98% of the listings removed in 2019 (12% increase since 2016).
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Direct Employment Loss Due To Infringement in Selected IPR-Intensive Industries in the European Union (2013-2017)

The chart presents on overview of estimated direct economic costs of infringement in selected IPR-intensive industries in the European Union, over the period 2013-2017. The results of the EUIPO report show that counterfeiting and piracy significantly impact the clothing, footware and accessories industries, accounting for 63% of direct employment losses in this area. European Union refers to EU28. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020.
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Distribution of Conveyance Methods for Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals (2014-2016)

The chart presents the distribution of transport modes for counterfeit pharmaceutical, based on the data from the OECD/EUIPO study on illicit trade in fake pharmaceuticals, published in 2020. The report builds on previous analyses of illicit trade, focusing on trade of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. In addition to possible economic damages for the sector, fake pharmaceuticals pose significant health risks, as often they are not properly formulated and may contain dangerous ingredients. The data highlighted that mail and courier services are the main modes of transport for counterfeit pharmaceuticals traded worldwide. In terms of volume, air is also an important means of transport in the global trade of fake pharmaceuticals. In terms of value, the main transport mode was by road transport and mail and postal services.
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Distribution of Conveyance Methods for Cultural Artefacts in Illegal Trade, 2019

The chart presents the distribution of transport modes for cultural artefacts seized by customs in 2019, based on the data from World Customs Organization's "Illicit trade Report 2019." The report shows that air and vehicle are the main conveyance methods for cultural artefacts, representing 73% in total seizures. In 2019, out of 217 seizures, 100 were air seizures (36.9%) and 98 vehicles seizures (36.2%). However, by number of artefacts seized, the vehicle seizures accounted for 65% (6 138), while air seizures only for 19% (1 826) of the total number of artefacts seized by customs.
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Distribution of Conveyance Methods for Weapons and Ammunition, 2018-2019

The chart presents the distribution of transport modes for weapons and ammunition seized by customs in 2019, based on the data from World Customs Organization's "Illicit trade Report 2019." The report shows that air, mail, vehicle and vessel are the conveyance methods present in all the seizures of weapons and ammunition. While seizures of weapons and ammunition made from the mail represented 58.2% (6 089) of all seizures made in 2019 (10 469), their number of pieces accounted only for 7.9% (78 131) of the total number of pieces seized by customs. The majority (70.5%) of pieces seized were made via vehicle transport, and out of those 94.4% were ammunition.
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Distribution of Items Infringing Intellectual Property Rights Detained at the Custom Border in the European Union, by Conveyance Method (2016-2019)

The chart presents the distribution of goods (by the number of articles) infringing Intellectual Property Rights detentained at the European Union borders, by different conveyance method used, between 2016-2019. The results show that more than half of the articles detained were delivered by sea, while postal deliveries by small parcels remain relatively limited, registering a significant decline in 2019 (over 10%). The other methods of conveyance used include air, road, rail and inland waterways. European Union refers to EU28. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020.
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Distribution of Registered Cases of Custom Seizures at the European Union Borders, by Conveyance Method (2016-2019)

The chart presents the distribution of registered cases in total custom seizures at the European Union borders, by different conveyance method used, between 2016-2019. The results show that more than half of the registered cases involved postal delivered goods, while sea delivery method account for less than 3%. Other methods of conveyance include air, road, rail and inland waterways. European Union refers to EU28. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020.
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Distribution of Share of Cultural Artefacts in Illegal Trade, by Selected Categories of Artefacts (2018-2019)

The chart presents the shares of selected types of artefacts seized by customs in 2018 and 2019, based on the data from World Customs Organization's "Illicit trade Report 2019." While the number of pieces of currency seized fell from 19 258 to 5 141 pieces (73.3%), coins still represent more than half of all items seized in 2019 (5 141 of 9 399). On the other hand,the number of items seized of the category "fauna, flora, minerals, anatomy, and fossils" nearly doubled in 2019 (2 085), compared to 2018 (1 049).
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Estimated Value of Direct Lost Sales Due To Infringement in Selected IPR-Intensive Industries in the European Union, 2013-2017

The chart presents on overview of estimated direct economic costs of infringement in selected IPR-intensive industries in the European Union, over the period 2013-2017. The results of the EUIPO report show that counterfeiting and piracy significantly impact the sales in the clothing, footware and accessories industries, accounting for 46% of their direct lost sales. European Union refers to EU28. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020.
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Product Categories Most Subject to Counterfeiting and Piracy Goods, 2013 and 2016

The chart shows the distribution of the product categories most subject to counterfeiting and piracy, in 2013 and 2016, based on the results of the OECD-EUIPO report on illegal trade. The report shows that product categories "Footware", "Clothing, knitted or crocheted" and "Articles of leather" have the highest propensity of being subject to counterfeit and piracy.