Infringing goods represent up to 2.5% of world trade, research reveals

A new study has revealed that counterfeit and pirated goods represented up to 2.5% of world trade in 2013 (as much as $461 billion). President of the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) Antonio Campinos points out that the figure “is equivalent to the combined GDP of the Czech Republic and Ireland”.

The research – Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact – was conducted jointly by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the EUIPO to measure and analyse the scale of counterfeit and pirated trade. It utilised customs data on almost half a million seizures, supplemented by interviews with trade and customs experts. It also found that:

  • counterfeit and pirated products accounted for up to 5% of imports to the European Union in 2013 (as much as €85 billion);
  • the majority of seized counterfeit shipments originated from East Asia, with China the top source;
  • rights holders in China are themselves frequently targeted by infringers – about 1.3% of seizures involved violations of the IP rights of Chinese companies; and
  • nearly 20% of the total value of seized products involved IP rights registered in the United States (followed by Italy (14.6%), France (12.1%), Switzerland (11.7%), Japan (8.2%) and Germany (7.5%)).

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