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Fighting fake designs

The Hague, 18 November 2015    

​DE  /  ES  /  FR  /  IT

Industries using design intensively contribute over 12% of employment in the EU, 13% of the GDP and pay wages that are 31% higher than other industries, according to a study released by OHIM in 2013 on the contribution of intellectual property rights (IPRs) to the EU economy.

Infringements of designs and sales of fake designs, such as in the sectors of applied arts, clothing, furniture, toys, are damaging for businesses and consumers and undermine trust in the market.

These infringements also deprive manufacturers and retail shops of significant revenue each year and have important employment consequences as several sectoral studies published in 2015 on the economic impact of counterfeiting in the EU, underlined.

Fighting Intellectual Property (IP) crime and ensuring effective enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are therefore key challenges in sustaining jobs and growth in the European economy, while safeguarding consumers against dangerous and substandard products and tackling the low risk/high revenue illegal activities of criminal organisations.

In this perspective, OHIM, through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, Europol and Eurojust, are pursuing their regular series of exchanges together with experienced investigators from customs and police, public prosecutors, private stakeholders - such as brand protection managers from industry – and policy makers, to discuss best practice and new cooperation opportunities to tackle IP crime.

Today’s event is focused on counterfeit designs protected by design law and copyright and completes a series of similar events which previously targeted  fake pesticides, medicines, automotive parts & household appliances, cosmetics as well as online infringements. Co-hosted by these three EU agencies in Alicante, from 18 to 20 November 2015, this gathering provides an opportunity to reinforce operational ties between enforcement authorities and businesses, to identify trends and bottlenecks and highlight possible effective techniques worth sharing, while addressing specific issues such as the implications of 3D printing.

António Campinos, President of OHIM, commented: 'OHIM is increasingly committed to joining forces with Europol and Eurojust to help police forces, prosecutors as well as customs authorities develop and strengthen relevant operational links to fight efficiently these illegal activities, which are highly damaging for European consumers and businesses, especially small businesses. In the framework of the EU Observatory’s mandate to provide objective data, raise awareness of the damages caused by counterfeiting and piracy as well as develop best practices and cross-border cooperation, we are considering further leveraging our contribution in the area of online infringements'.

Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, said: 'Counterfeiting is a multifaceted phenomenon, especially in light of the different characteristics of intellectual property (IP) rights. Imitations and replicas constitute a serious commercial threat to business and consequently cause considerable damage to the EU economy and a loss of trust in trade by consumers. Nowadays, no type of product is immune from the risk of an IP infringement. This illegal business generates high profits for criminal groups, who are utilising methods and instruments common to other serious criminal contexts, such as smuggling and drug trafficking. The synergies among our agencies, and engagement with the private sector, to better understand the phenomenon and tackle it by joining forces are therefore essential'.

The Hungarian National Member and Contact Point of Eurojust for Intellectual Property issues, Mr László Venczl said, 'We know that criminals take advantage of the different judicial systems and national borders. This means that the response to cross-border crime is cross-border solutions and seamless cooperation between the judicial and police authorities while maintaining effective contact with the private sector. Our discussions are fundamental to ensuring smooth and swift cross-border cooperation and judicial cooperation in the fight against organised crime, including the production and sale of counterfeit products.’

The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights was established in 2009 to support the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and help combat the growing threat of IP infringements in Europe. It was transferred by Regulation on June 5, 2012 to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), which is the official trademarks and designs office of the European Union, headquartered in Alicante, Spain, since 1994.

Europol is the European law enforcement agency of the European Union.

Eurojust is the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit. Based in The Hague, it is a body of the European Union established in 2002 with the goal of stimulating and improving the coordination of investigations and prosecutions and cooperation between the Member States’ competent national authorities in relation to serious cross-border (organised) crime.

Press contacts

Ulf Bergström
Head of Communications and External Relations
The Hague
Tel: +31 70 412 5508

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Europol Corporate Communications
Tel: +31 70 302 5001

Luis Berenguer Gimenez
Head of Communication Service
Tel: +31 70 302 5001


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The press releases above have been translated from the original English version. Eurojust cannot be held responsible for the quality of the translation. In the event of any discrepancies, please consult the original English version of the press release.