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Europol: More Than Half of Counterfeits Originate in China

On March 7, 2022, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) jointly released the Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment 2022. Per the Assessment, China (including Hong Kong) was the main source of counterfeits based on number of counterfeits and by value of the counterfeits seized at the EU external borders.  Almost 76% of the fake goods detained were for trademark infringement; design infringement was the second most reported at 23% while copyright was third with 15%.

China and Turkey remain the main countries of origins for counterfeit clothing, shoes, bags, watches, and jewelry seized at the EU’s border. These goods are mostly ordered online and discovered as part of postal shipments or on passengers entering the EU.

Similarly, China is the country of origin for most of the seized counterfeit electrical/electronic and computer equipment, mobile phones and accessories. With respect to mobile phones, the Assessment states,

…the visual appearance of the counterfeit devices is very convincing, closely mimicking the external characteristics of the original phones. However, typically some features and software characteristics are missing and the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is often fake.  The use of cheap and substandard electric components, which can be found in fake batteries, headphones or chargers, pose safety risks.

“China and Turkey were among the most frequently reported non-EU countries of origin for counterfeit food and drink seized at the EU’s external border.” Similarly, counterfeit perfumes and cosmetic products often originate from China and Turkey. 

In addition to ready-to-use IPR-infringing goods, product components, such as aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents, are increasingly being seized. These components are used to create the final counterfeit products in the EU.

More worrisome, China and Turkey were the main origin of counterfeit pharmaceutical products.

Toys round out the top 10 counterfeits with China also being main point of origin.

The full Assessment is available here: IP_Crime_Threat_Assessment_2022_FullR_en.

Principal, and Director of the China Intellectual Property Practice

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