Hope in the fight against counterfeit products?
Berlin, May 2, 2022: In view of the 5.8 percent of all EU imports that are counterfeits according to calculations by the OECD and the EUIPO, customs authorities represent an indispensable protective wall in the fight against product and brand piracy.
The General Directorate of Customs today published its statistics for the past year, according to which in 2021, more than 18.8 million counterfeits worth about 315 million euros were seized at the border in nearly 25,000 cases. After packaging materials, toys, games and sporting goods were picked up most often this time (about 570,000 items).
More than 80 percent of the seizures took place in postal traffic. “Online trade has become a major problem for customs in recent years. Since it is usually a matter of many individual parcels, customs can hardly check all suspicious shipments,” Volker Bartels, chairman of the Aktionskreis gegen Produkt- und Markenpiraterie, comments on the figures, “The companies affected by counterfeiting are already doing their utmost to prevent illegal offers of their products. Unfortunately, however, many trading platforms and other Internet service providers still take action against such legal violations too rarely and timidly.”
This is now set to change with the Digital Services Act, which the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission agreed on at the end of April after more than a year of debate and negotiations. Among other things, this provides for an obligation for online marketplaces to verify the identity of traders operating there before they start business. In addition, the sales platforms must randomly check the listed offers against official databases and inform consumers if a purchased product subsequently turns out to be a fake.
“The Digital Services Act is an important step in the right direction and will in many cases protect consumers from rogue traders on online marketplaces,” notes Bartels, “However, it still leaves various loopholes open: already today we see that alternative sales channels, such as social media or live streams, are increasingly being used to sell counterfeit products. However, many of the DSA’s key regulations are not expected to apply to these distribution channels, and consumers will be much less protected there. The EU Commission should closely monitor the situation here and, if necessary, quickly make improvements.”
About the APM
The Aktionskreis gegen Produkt- und Markenpiraterie e.V. (APM) has been working as a cross-industry association for the protection of intellectual property since 1997. The APM is a joint initiative of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the Markenverband. At APM, renowned companies from various industries are committed to creating an environment in which innovative activity can flourish and build on effective protection.
Your contact for the press:
Action group against product and brand piracy e.V.
Tel.: +49 (0) 30/206 790 74
Fax: +49 (0) 30/206 790 72