The Situation Report on Counterfeiting in the European Union (EU), prepared by Europol and OHIM through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights is a first try to capture the complex reality of counterfeiting in the EU in 2015.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) make sure that innovators and creators receive profit for their work, encourage investment in research and create growth as well as quality jobs. IPR intensive industries account for more than a quarter of all jobs and more than a third of GDP in the EU. This demonstrates the important role of these rights for the economy and society in the EU, as well as the scale of potential damage that can be caused when they lose their value because of counterfeiting.
2. Spectrum of products
Counterfeited goods are no longer just poor quality clothing and accessories of luxury brands. Rather, counterfeited goods can be found in all sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, electronic goods, household products, cosmetics, automotive spare parts, pesticides, food and beverages.
This can be very dangerous for consumers: for example, cases of shampoo found to cause chemical burns to the scalp, cosmetics containing multiple unknown and sometimes toxic substances, and, using unlicensed or counterfeited batteries and laptop or phone chargers has resulted in explosions and fires.
3. Source countries of counterfeit goods
Not surprisingly, you can see below that the source country for over two thirds of counterfeit goods circulating in the EU is China. But, China is also a primary source country for the cheap production of legitimate goods.
As you can also see, the majority of source countries for counterfeits are outside the EU, although the report also underlined domestic EU production originating from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and the UK.
A lot of the source countries are specialized in certain categories. For example India is focused on pharmaceuticals and Turkey on foodstuffs and cosmetics.
4. Transit of counterfeit goods
Products entering into Europe from the Far East and South East Asia mostly transit through Egypt, Hong Kong, Morocco, Singapore or the United Arab Emirates. These transit points are major hubs for shipping container traffic and have large free trade zones.
The counterfeiters abuse this world-wide infrastructure of 3.000 free trade zones in 135 countries for their business. Upon arriving, they change, document and relabel container loads to conceal the place of origin of the goods. Afterwards, they complete the manufacturing process by adding trademarks or packaging. This way the products reach the countries of sale.
Internet and e-commerce have become the most significant enablers for the distribution and sale of counterfeit goods because of its apparent anonymous character, its ability to operate across various jurisdictions, and its potential for presenting sophisticated replicas of official web shops.
6. Full Report
For detailed information (including the above chart), please see this link
with all of the statistics.