Seizures of Fakes Soar in Europe

EU authorities more than doubled their seizure of fake products smuggled into the 27-strong bloc at its external borders last year, with pirate CDs, cigarettes and clothes, mainly from China, dominating the list.

According to statistics published by the European Commission on Thursday (9 July), national customs officers are increasingly recognizing and detaining counterfeit products, in co-operation with industry.

In 2008, some 178 million items were seized compared to 79 million in 2007, up 125 percent. There was a 13 percent increase in products registered as breaking intellectual property rights – over 49,000 cases compared to 43,000 in 2007.

European producers themselves filed some 13,000 applications to request customs interventions, this way enforcing 80 percent of all investigations.

The pirate list has been for years dominated by the same kinds of products and last year's figures confirmed the existing trends: DVDs and CDs were the most prevalent fake goods, with 79 million disks detained, 44 percent of all items, followed by cigarettes (23%) and clothing (10%).

Meanwhile, the highest increases in terms of actual cases of IPR infringement were registered with toys (up 136%), electrical equipment (58%), medicines (57%) and personal care products (42%).

Geographically, over half of the fake goods confiscated at EU borders came from China.

The European Commission said that a significant part of the confiscated products was potentially dangerous for European consumers.

While most fake medicines came from India, Indonesia was the biggest source of forged food and drink products and the United Arab Emirates was the key point of origin for counterfeit cigarettes.

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