New threat assessment report confirms links between IP crime and organized crime in the EU. Most criminal activity involving counterfeiting is carried out by increasingly professionalised organized crime networks, which can reap large profits while running few risks.
This is according to the first EU-wide intellectual property crime threat assessment by Europol and the EUIPO published on June 12, 2019, during the International Forum on IP Enforcement in Paris, a forward-looking strategic analysis building on two previous joint situation reports on counterfeiting and piracy.
The report also underlines that, although the majority of counterfeits in the EU market are produced outside Europe, domestic manufacturing within Europe is an increasing trend.
The threat assessment carried out using EU-wide data and strategic intelligence analysis, also stresses that, as well as the traditional categories of counterfeited clothes, footwear and luxury products, there is a growing trade in fake products which are potentially dangerous to human health. The trade in counterfeit medicines for the treatment of serious illnesses appears to be increasing, for example.
In addition, fake goods are increasingly shipped via small parcels and express couriers, making it more difficult for enforcement authorities to detect them.
Online, illegal digital content continues to be distributed through BitTorrent portals and peer-to-peer networks, but increasingly also via cyberlockers, the threat assessment finds. The owners of these platforms generate profit through digital advertisements, which often include mainstream adverts from major brands.
This threat assessment should feed into the next EU policy cycle for organized and serious international crime for the 2022-2025 period. Members States will again be invited to consider including fighting intellectual property crime among the priorities for action in the next Multi-Annual Strategic Plan. <