Posted on Tuesday 5 November 2019 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property

Custom authorities made over 69,000 detentions in 2018, with 26.7million articles suspected of infringing on intellectual property rights and with a domestic retail value of 738 million. In Ireland over 19,000 articles were detained in this time period.  These figures published in the ‘Report on the EU Customs Enforcement of IP Rights – Results at the EU Border 2018’ show a 21% increase compared to that of 2017

Of the top categories for articles detained by EU customs, cigarettes accounted for 15.6%, followed by toys at 14.2%, packaging material at 9.4% and labels/tags/ stickers with 8.9%. While China, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Hong Kong and Cambodia are the top countries for these goods suspected of infringement.

Many of the articles detained resulted in goods being destroyed or a court case initiated by the rights holder to determine infringement.

Of the increasing number of articles which originated from postal services, many were ordered via e-commerce. Speaking about the findings, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici stated that for custom officers ‘their job is made even more difficult by the rise in small packages entering the EU through online sales. Protecting the integrity of our Single Market and Customs Union, and effective enforcement of intellectual property rights in the international supply chain are also priorities.’

E-Commerce Shopping Continues to Rise

With 3.48 billion users worldwide, the internet has allowed more access than ever to a global shopping channel. In a recent survey where 2,603 online shoppers were interviewed, 63% of consumers don’t believe enough is being done by brands and online marketplaces to protect them from cybercrime and counterfeiters. Another 31% have said they have unintentionally bought a fake product online. Of these products bought, clothing, electronic goods and beauty products made up the top three counterfeit items.

Protection Strategies are Key

This annual report serves as an opportunity and reminder of the importance of enforcing IP rights, ensuring the appropriate measures are continuously put in place by custom officials in order to combat intellectual property infringement. The majority of detained articles were suspected of infringing on EU Trade Marks, International and National Trade Marks.  It is imperative that while the production of counterfeit goods continues, companies and businesses alike ensure they have the correct protection strategies put in place for their products. As an IP firm we are committed to continually driving IP awareness and strive to inform our clients about the best way IP protection can work for them.