EUIPO Report on intellectual property rights infringement

According to the recent report published by EUIPO (European Intellectual Property Office) on June the 10th 2020, the infringement of intellectual property rights continues to have an important impact on social and economic level in the entire European Union, favoring criminality.

The infringement on IP rights entails for EU governments a loss estimated around 15 billion euros every year.

It affects luxury goods, but also pharmaceutical medicines, electronics, household goods and cosmetics, replacement parts for cars, pesticides, toys, foods, beverages and technical goods.

The infringement of such rights is a very lucrative criminal activity, since the likelihood of detection and punishment is still very low. Criminal groups are heavily involved in counterfeiting and piracy, they often make significant use of the internet to distribute and promote their counterfeit products and at the same time they carry out activities such as money laundering, human trafficking and forced labor to produce the copied products.

The damage is not only economical but it concerns also health.

In March 2020 EUIPO, in collaboration with the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) published a joint study on counterfeit medicines, showing that medicines for treating serious diseases, including antibiotics, heart disease medications or cancer therapies, are often subject to counterfeiting, with potentially deadly consequences for the patient who takes those medicines.

During the last few months, counterfeiters have focused their attention on needs caused by the outbreak of Covid-19, thus on producing fake testing kits, counterfeit personal protective equipment and on fake medicines said to cure the disease, even if to be yet approved.

EUIPO is working to promote many initiatives, is collaborating with Europol to elaborate broader responses to criminality in the IP field, contributing to train law enforcement authorities in cooperation with CEPOL (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training) and Eurojust (European Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation).

Such activities are carried out with the clear intent to reduce the offer of counterfeit products and to make the citizens aware of the importance of Intellectual Property.

Although the serious consequences of infringement, consumers continue to buy counterfeit goods and to illegally access copyright-protected content compelled by cheaper prices.

It’s very important that consumers direct the market and realize that it’s their savings that feed criminality and social injustice and put at risk many lives.