Fight against product piracy and counterfeits - EUIPO unveils “EBSI-ELSA” – a promising initiative for assuring product authenticity
The EUIPO is establishing an important feature, a new initiative that they call “a ground-breaking step in global supply chain product authentication”: “EBSI-ELSA”.
As reported in our blog article of 29 June 2023, the European Union Intellectual Property Office published a consumer study on “European Citizens and Intellectual Property: Perception, Awareness and Behaviour” on 12 June 2023. Results of this study were, on the one hand, that consumers are becoming increasingly wary of counterfeits, on the other hand that there is still a lot of work to be done to fight product piracy and to curb counterfeits. According to this study, global trade in counterfeits amounted to EUR 412 billion in 2021, which was 2.5% of all global trade. In addition, a great number of European consumers are unsure of the authenticity of products which they buy.
The EUIPO is now establishing “EBSI-ELSA”. “EBSI-ELSA” is a European Logistics Services Authentication (ELSA) initiative for products within the global supply chain using the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI).
The aim of this initiative is to reassure and protect consumers, while providing comprehensive support to IP rights holders from filing to enforcement. Product authenticity should be assured by promoting information sharing among the participants in the supply chain. This should happen within a secure environment using blockchain technology. EUIPO has recently finalized the set up and they are now performing real-life operational tests. On 31 May 2023, the EUIPO hosted an event where the new name – “EBSI-ELSA” – as well as the promising results of this initiative were presented.
Outlook according to the EUIPO: “by the end of 2023, EBSI-ELSA is expected to be an open-source platform to authenticate products and exchange data between all the parties in the supply and logistics chain, interconnecting products’ track and trace solutions with the risk analysis systems of enforcement authorities and the EUIPO tools (TMview, DesignView, IPEP and IP Register in Blockchain). By doing so, custom officers, as well as transport and logistic operators, can boost their process-productivity and focus their efforts on suspicious goods, while brand owners can use the authenticity claim in litigation cases (e.g. parallel imports) and have a clear overview of their products’ journeys from manufacturer to reseller.”
For us as IP and especially trademark experts, this is promising. EBSI-ELSA seems to be developing into a powerful but also easy tool supporting the fight against product piracy.
More information can be found in the detailed FAQs on the different aspects of the infrastructure. Additional information for each stakeholder group can also be found on the website, including short videos for brand owners, custom officers, transport and logistics operators, and users. To know more about European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI), visit this website.
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