Posted by Laura Ercoli on Monday December 4th, 2023

Fighting fakes at the borders of the European Union: results in 2022

86 million fake items were detained by customs authorities at the external and internal borders of the European Union in 2022; Italy accounted for over 63% of the total number of detained fake items, and for over 33% of their total estimated value.

Lotta al falso

The report EU enforcement of intellectual property rights: results at the EU border and in the EU internal market 2022  published jointly by the EUIPO and the European Commission in November 2023, provides an interesting overview of the results of the customs authorities of the EU’s efforts to prevent IP-infringing goods from entering the borders, both external and internal, of the European Union.

Fakes detained at external and internal EU borders

86 million fake items were detained by customs authorities at the external borders of the European Union and in the union’s internal market; the number of fake items detained has decreased slightly in comparison with 2021 but still is still higher than in 2020 and 2019. The estimated value of the items detained was over 2 billion euro, up about 3% on 2021. 

Fakes detained at the EU external borders in 2022 amounted to about 67 million items, down by 43% in 2022 compared to 2021, although the value of the items increased by 11%.

Items detained at the internal borders of EU member states increased by about 26% on 2021; their valued decreased due to the higher percentage of products belonging to cheaper product categories.

Top fake products

The 5 most detained products in the entire union, accounting for over 72% of the total, were games, packaging material, toys, cigarettes and recorded CDs/DVDs. Why is packaging material so high on the list? Because counterfeiters ship the unbranded goods separately from their less valuable and branded packaging, to avoid detection of the goods at EU’s external borders; the goods are then packaged within the EU.

Top 3 IP rights infringed

In 2022 trademarks continued to be the predominant infringed right, but were not as predominant as in previous years. In 2022, almost 60% of the fakes detained infringed at least one trademark, in previous years that figure never dropped below 76%. Fakes infringing copyrights, on the other hand, amounted to 36.6 % of detentions, the highest figure since 2008; designs accounted for 4.7 %, followed by patents, plant variety rights and geographical indications for wines and spirits.

Italy leads for number of detained items

Italy accounted for over 63% of the total number of fake items, and for over 33% of the total estimated value of all detained goods.

Six EU member states (Italy, France, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Spain and Hungary) accounted for 93 % of the total value of the detentions in 2022.

Top countries of origin of fake items

China (top detained items: packaging material) leads the list of countries of provenance of the majority of fake goods entering the EU in 2022, followed by Turkey (tdi: clothing),Hong Kong (tdi: mobile phone accessories), Russia (tdi: cigarettes) and Georgia (tdi: alcoholic beverages).

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