European Union Customs authorities stopped almost 40 million products worth nearly 1 billion euro ($1.32 billion) last year due to suspected intellectual property rights (IPR) violations, according to a European Commission report
Officials this year saw a sharp decrease in the number of articles detained, but only a slight drop in the amount of the goods when compared to 2011. The European Union’s most recent spike in counterfeit products occurred in 2008, when nearly 180 million articles were seized. Since then, intellectual property detentions have dropped consistently, except for an uptick in 2011.
Cigarettes accounted for 31 percent of the seizures, with packaging materials representing 10 percent of the goods stopped. Miscellaneous cargo, such as bottles, lamps and glue, accounted for 12 percent of the total amount. The vast majority of the cargo was being transported in postal and courier packages.
Many of the goods started their journey in China, but Hong Kong emerged as a hotspot for counterfeit electronic cigarettes and DVDs, while fake packaging materials mostly came from Bulgaria and counterfeit food was transported from Morocco.
"Customs is the EU's first line of defense against fake products which undermine legal businesses,” the commission’s Algirdas Semeta said in a statement. “Today's report shows the intensity and importance of the work being done by Customs in this field. I will continue to push for even greater protection of intellectual property rights in Europe, through our work with international partners, the industry and member states." - Jon Ross