European customs have seized about 40 million goods that violated copyrights in 2012. This shows the annual report of the Commission. Although this is less than last year, their market value is still about 1 billion euro.
China number one in counterfeiting
About 31% percent of intercepted fake goods were cigarettes, followed by household products such as glue, batteries and washing powder (12%). Counterfeiters not only focus on the consumer market, because the third most counterfeited products are packaging materials (10%). 70% of all interceptions happen through the postal service. A quarter of those concern counterfeit medicine.
China still is the largest producer of fake goods, but some other countries have started to specialise in a certain group of products. Morocco for instance has become the largest supplier of counterfeit food, Hong Kong does best in CDs and DVDs, while Bulgaria handles packaging materials.
Constraint on innovation
Europe is putting a lot of money in the fight against counterfeit goods, because they are a constraint on research, innovation and jobs. When talking about food, care products and toys, counterfeit goods also have an added health risk, says the Commission. That is why the impounded goods almost always get destroyed.
Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta has promised to increase the protection of intellectual property in Europe, among others by working more closely with the industry and members of the EU.