The joint annual report published by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) describes seizures of articles suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (IPR) such as trademarks, copyrights and patents in the EU’s internal market and at external borders in 2021.
The 2021 edition includes a comparison between the estimates of IPR infringing goods and detentions of the same goods at the EU border. Although those estimates and data on detentions have been collated for many years in separate reports, this is the first time that the data has been published together in one single publication.
Since their agreement in 2020, DG TAXUD and the EUIPO jointly publish an annual document presenting the efforts made and work carried out by all authorities in the domain of the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs). This second edition provides the figures for the detentions of IPR-infringing goods and other related information in 2021.
In the EU as a whole, the number of detained items in 2021 increased by almost 31 % compared to 2020 but were worth over EUR 1.9 billion - slightly less than in 2020. Packaging materials was the leading identified subcategory, in terms of the number of items detained, followed by cigarettes and labels, tags and stickers. In terms of estimated value, clothing led, followed by watches and audio/video apparatus. Once again, packaging materials and labels, tags and stickers, with their potential multiplying effect for the production of more fake products through wrapping unbranded products within fake packaging or labelling, were among the top three most detained identified products in the EU.
As in previous years, China remains the main country of origin for the majority of counterfeit goods entering the EU in 2021, followed by Türkiye (from which the most detained category was clothing) and Hong Kong, China (from which the most detained category was labels, tags and stickers). In 2021, which was the second year of the COVID 19 pandemic, postal, express courier and air transport remained the most significant means of transport in terms of the number of cases registered.
This joint document aims to provide useful information to support the analysis of IPR infringement in the EU and the development of appropriate countermeasures by relevant enforcement authorities, since the figures allow for a better understanding of the scope and extent of the problem. On a broader scale, it should provide EU policymakers with data for developing evidence-based priorities and policies.