AIM is supporting actively the “Together Against Counterfeiting” alliance. We are working closely with all brand manufacturers to find the best solutions and tackle effectively the plague of counterfeits online.
Today, the European Commission published the mid-term review of Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy, which provides a state of play of the 16 measures presented in the framework of the implementation of its strategy. As key contributors to, and beneficiaries of, Europe’s DSM, the members of the “Together Against Counterfeiting” alliance fully support the Commission’s objective to build trust and give confidence to consumers and businesses alike in order to enable them to fully benefit from the opportunities conferred by the development of digital technologies.
While the European Commission has presented initiatives to tackle the issues of harmful and inappropriate content, companies feel that one essential element of consumer trust and business confidence has been left to one side - counterfeit. The proliferation of counterfeiting –which represents today around 5% of total EU imports (link) – strongly affects business and consumers alike and therefore risks undermining the sustainability and safety of Europe’s DSM. Indeed, a recent EUIPO study has shown that one out of ten consumers has bought counterfeiting as a result of being misled, and another 35% have wondered whether the product they purchased was genuine or counterfeit. This shows that almost half of European consumers purchasing online are unsure about the authenticity of the goods they purchase, which makes the task of building a trusted digital ecosystem that much more difficult.
The consequences of the increase in the trade of counterfeit goods go beyond the negative impact on companies’ brand image, the European economy, jobs and the loss of tax revenues for European member states. Counterfeit goods are part of an increasingly professionalised business model, as well as a serious threat to public health and safety: their manufacture evades any type of certification, norms and quality checks. Moreover, in today’s geopolitical and security context, we cannot ignore the fact that counterfeiting has become one of the main facilitators and financers of organised crime (link).
In light of these developments, the alliance strongly encourages the Commission to take advantage of the upcoming revision of the Directive on Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement (“IPRED”) to modernise the existing framework of IPR protection through a rebalancing of responsibilities in the fight against counterfeiting aiming to ensure that all actors in the distribution chain take an active part in addressing this issue and join forces against the presence of illicit goods in the online and offline environments.
About the “Together Against Counterfeiting” alliance
· The “Together Against Counterfeiting” alliance bring together over 80 companies from all industrial sectors in order to raise awareness about the impact of the recrudescence of counterfeiting and push for the adoption of an immediate, horizontal, and ambitious solution at European level through the upcoming revision of the IPR enforcement directive (“IPRED”).
• Counterfeiting amounts to 2.5 % of world trade; it is even higher in an EU context at up to 5% of all imports into the EU by value (link);
• The global figure is placed at $461bn (€432bn)5 – compared to a maximum of $200 billion in 2005 (€187bn) and a forecasted rise to $991bn (€931bn) by 2022. This is more than the current annual GDP of the Netherlands, the 7th largest economy in the EU6.
• Just looking at 9 economic sectors, the EUIPO estimates a loss of 796 000 direct and indirect jobs due to IPR infringement 7 and a loss of € 14.57bn for EU governments in taxes and social contributions due to IPR infringement (link);
• Out of the 10 most affected countries by counterfeit, 8 are European.
Link to the press release