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EUIPO’s and OECD’s Study on Dangerous Fakes Published

Photo: Cover © Roman Krause

European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property rights of the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), in cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), published a study dealing with dangerous counterfeit goods, originally titled “Dangerous Fakes. Trade in Counterfeit Goods that Pose Health, Safety and Environmental Risks”.

The study is based on the analysis of data collected by customs and other authorities responsible for the enforcement of intellectual property rights and collection of data by experts working in this field. The report provides quantitative assessment of the scope and trends of the trade in counterfeit products that can pose health, safety and environmental threats.

Automotive spare parts, optical and medical devices, pharmaceuticals and clothing are classified as dangerous fakes most frequently distributed in the market.

China and Hong Kong (China) are still the largest identified exporters of dangerous fakes, accounting for almost three-quarters of seizures in total in procedures by responsible authorities focused on the protection of intellectual property. It is to emphasise that postal parcels or the products ordered by e-commerce are the most common method of shipping counterfeit goods to clients or customers. An extremely large number of parcels of products ordered by online services in a daily postal traffic complicate the capacity of responsible authorities to detect and stop all such products, so as not to reach customers. 60% of products estimated to be dangerous counterfeits were seized within control and surveillance of small parcels intended for the European Union market. Among dangerous fakes ordered online cosmetics items were the most common, followed by clothing, toys and automotive spare parts, and the most of these goods (75%) were shipped from China.

The European Union and the United States were the main destination economies of the so-called small parcels containing dangerous counterfeit goods.

Foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics (for example, perfumery) have been most frequently subject of safety alerts and recalls. Such dangerous goods include also automotive spare parts, toys and clothing that may contain toxic dyes, chemicals or parts that can be easily ripped off and thus posing potential risk to children.

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic consequences associated with this health crisis made an additional impact on this problem, which manifested in an increased trade of counterfeit medicines and protective medical equipment, test kits, as well as other products that can pose risk to life and health of people, such as various consumption products or spare parts.

The group of dangerous fakes is certainly to be supplemented with counterfeit pesticides and other chemicals that can also pose a significant danger not only to consumers, but also to the environment, crops, waterways etc.

Therefore, it is this time again necessary to point out the importance of cautious and informed access of consumers to the purchase of products, especially with buying online. One should take account of the fact that there is hardly any branch of industry today not being affected by counterfeiting problem and all counterfeit goods are risky in principle because they can pose some threats to their users.

It is important to know that legitimate producers must comply with prescribed conditions of production and placing products on the market so as to prevent their products from causing any damage to end users. By contrast, counterfeiters do not observe any regulations or standards in the production and consequently, purchase of such products can pose health and safety risks to the consumer and his next of kin.

Consumers are extremely important to be warned of not to purchase medicines and medical products online.

The study by EUIPO and OECD contains also statistical indicators relevant for the Republic of Croatia. Informative summary of the study in Croatian is available here, and the entire study can be accessed here.

In conclusion, interested users are invited to consult many studies and recent research works in the field of protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights published by EUIPO, independently or in cooperation with other organisations, and these can be accessed here.

Datum novosti: 25/03/2022