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EU Customs seize 36 million fake goods



Emma Barraclough, London


The number of fakes seized by Customs officials in Europe fell last year for the second year running

The authorities detained nearly 36 million fake goods at EU borders in 2013. That was down from almost 40 million in 2012 and a steep drop from the 178 million articles seized in 2008.

China remained the number one country of provenance for suspected IP-infringing goods sent to the EU. Clothing came top of the list for fake products, accounting for 12% of the overall amount, followed by other goods (11%), medicines (10%), cigarettes (9%), packaging materials (9%) and toys (8%).

More detentions than ever are being made following requests from IP owners. In 2007 Customs received just over 10,000 applications for action. Last year that number had more than doubled to 26,800.

But ex officio actions have fallen as a percentage of total actions by Customs. In 2009 they accounted for almost 10% of Customs’ actions but by last year that figure had fallen to just over 3%.

Statistics revealed in a report from the European Commission show that counterfeiters and their customers are increasingly turning to mail and courier services for delivery of their products.

Cases related to postal and courier traffic accounted for 72% of all detentions. Packages were largely filled with gods such as sport shoes, bags and wallets, clothing, sunglasses and watches. In terms of number of articles detained in postal traffic, medicines remained for the fourth consecutive year the top category with 19%.


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