The World Anti-Counterfeiting Day has been created in 1998 by the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group (GACG) and is held every June to raise awareness of the damages caused by counterfeiting and piracy.
New research from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shows that EUR 60 billion is lost each year due to counterfeiting in 13 economic sectors.
IPR infringement is a criminal activity
Because of the high value associated with IPR, infringement of those rights is a lucrative criminal activity, which generates significant costs to the rights owners and to the economy in general.
Abundant value, lenient sentences and high returns on investment, define the incentives for criminal gangs to engage in counterfeiting activities. The modus operandi of such gangs is becoming increasingly complex as technology and distribution channels evolve, hand in hand with the breadth of products being counterfeited.
Internet is an important means of distribution
The business models adopted by counterfeiters make significant use of the internet to distribute their products and to promote the distribution and consumption of illegal digital content.
Internet sites selling counterfeit goods benefit from additional advertising revenues from both ‘high risk’ ads (adult, gaming, and malware) and from legitimate brands, which then suffer in two ways from advertising on such sites (damage to their own brand and provision of credibility to the hosting website).
Why consumers purchase counterfeit goods
The incentives for consumers to purchase counterfeit goods include:
- Lower prices
- Easy accessibility
- Low degree of social stigma associated with such purchases
EUIPO, together with public and private partners, is undertaking and supporting a number of actions to meet these challenges. These actions range from;
- Providing rights owners with information on the changing infringement landscape
- Working with Europol on wider responses to IP crime, not least by funding a specialised IP crime unit within Europol
- Supporting the European Commission (DG Trade) efforts to address the supply of counterfeit goods in third countries,
- By providing citizens with information on the availability of legal digital content offers on te economic impact of purchasing counterfeit goods or accessing illegal content
For more information, please check the EUIPO website.