Customs and counterfeits in the EU

Posted by Nicola Rochon on
The recent report by the European Commission on EU customs enforcement of intellectual property rights provides an insight into the scope and extent of intellectual property rights infringement in the EU. 

The annual report sets out statistical information and data on EU customs activity during 2016, in particular in relation to the types of intellectual property rights that are being infringed, the types of goods detained, their provenance and the means of transport of these goods.

Some of the most noteworthy statistics set out in the report were as follows:

  • Custom authorities made over 63,000 detentions in 2016 consisting of 41.3 million articles. This figure has steadily increased each year since 2013.
  • There has been significant increases in the number of articles detained in the following categories:
    • Foodstuffs
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Computer equipment
    • Toys
    • Packaging materials
    • However, there has been a significant decrease in the categories of:
      • Sunglasses
      • Handbags
      • Other electronic equipment
      • Other body care items
      • Games
      • Sporting articles
      • Medicines
      • Other tobacco products
      • Vehicles accessories and labels
  • In almost 90% of the detentions of goods, the goods were either destroyed under the standard procedure, destroyed under the procedure for small consignments or a court case was initiated to determine the infringement or as part of criminal procedures.
  • China remains the main country of provenance. 80% of articles detained for suspected IPR infringement were coming from China at the moment of detention.
  • There has been a strong increase of articles detained in road transport.
  • 92% of articles detained by customs were suspected of infringing a trade mark and 5.7% of articles were suspected of infringing design and model rights (an increase from 2015).
  • The number of applications for action submitted to the customs authorities from the Member States has shown a steady increase. In 2016 a total of 3,040 national applications for action and 1,179 union applications for action were submitted to customs authorities.
  • This report highlights the importance of the customs authorities in the EU and the need for ongoing co-operation by intellectual property rights holders when suspicion of infringement arises.

If you would like any further information or advice in relation to customs and counterfeits in the EU, please contact Jill Bainbridge or Ben Evans from the Intellectual Property team at Blake Morgan LLP. 

About the Authors

Nicola Rochon is a Trainee Solicitor in our Employment team based in Southampton.

Nicola Rochon
Email Nicola
023 8085 7026

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Ben is a dual-qualified Solicitor and chartered trade mark attorney and advises clients on both contentious and non-contentious intellectual property matters.

Ben Evans
Email Ben
023 8085 7280

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