During 2017, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) jointly reported that global trade in counterfeiting and piracy is worth around $461bn, approximately 2.5% of international trade.
At an operational level, EU Customs recently confirmed that over 31 million articles were detained in 2017 with a total retail value of over €582m euros. What may prove even more worrying is that over 43% of the fakes seized were potentially dangerous to the health and safety of consumers.
Intellectual property (IP) is a vital driver for economies across the world and recently EUIPO and the European Patent Office, reported that IP industries generate around 28% of employment in the EU – equivalent to 60 million jobs. Moreover, IP industries in the EU add 42% to the bloc’s GDP (€5.7tn). In the UK alone, trademark industries contribute 38% to our GDP and provide 22% of jobs. All of this is jeopardised by IP crime.
Furthermore, the trade in counterfeit goods is facilitating threats in other areas. There is evidence that confirms links between counterfeiting and organised crime: child exploitation, the trafficking of drugs and human beings, money laundering and corruption.
For 20 years, The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) and partner anti-counterfeiting associations throughout the EU have continually worked to counter the growth of IP crime. ACG alone represents over 3,000 international brands in more than 30 countries, and every day we work with UK, European and global enforcement agencies to fight this phenomenon.
ACG’s intelligence function allows us to offer active support to these enforcement agencies and we regularly provide operational support and advice to enforcers on the ground.
We realise that no single organisation is going to beat counterfeiting and piracy on its own. But we are part of a global network aimed at confronting the criminals involved. Brexit will challenge these partnerships. However, IP crime is a global problem and despite being beyond the EU’s borders, ACG remains committed to playing a key role at the centre of the fight against this deadly trade, alongside our international partners.
To achieve our collective goals, more effective
cross-border intelligence sharing and multi-sector strategies are crucial. These must be directed by governments but developed in collaboration with business experts. Only by maintaining our alliances will we be able to make the right decisions about protecting consumers and our priceless business assets. ν