Spain: Economic impact of counterfeiting and piracy
The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights carried out a series of studies about the economic impact of counterfeiting in nine economic sectors.
It is estimated that over 7.4% of all sales are lost every year in these sectors due to the presence of fake goods in the European market. The average loss of annual sales in the EU is estimated at 7.4% and at 7.9% regarding direct jobs.
In Spain the percentages of loss of sales increases significantly over 15% in sectors as significant as cosmetics and perfumes (around 17%), clothing and footwear and sporting goods, being the second European country in total loss of sales and jobs. Despite the fact that fake products come mainly from out of the EU, domestic production seems to be on the rise.
The distribution of counterfeit products takes place mainly in street markets, better known as "top manta" markets. Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia are key places but also the tourist towns of the Mediterranean coast are very active. City halls are implementing measures in order to end the presence of "manteros" (illegal street vendor in Spanish common language) in the streets. Madrid city fines the illegal sale of counterfeit products from €150 to €6000. In addition to fines, Barcelona has implemented communication campaigns for tourists with the intention of encouraging visitors to stop buying fake products. Other cities such as Seville and Alicante are implementing similar measures.
E-commerce has become another increasingly common tool for selling fake products in Spain. Counterfeiters have taken advantage of the increase of online sales in order to create new digital platforms for illegal trading. The Spanish police are active when fighting against online counterfeiting. They have a specialised unit for fighting against IP crimes (Sección de delitos contra la propiedad industrial e intelectual) headquartered in Madrid. Any citizen can inform them about a potential IP crime through an online contact form.
The Spanish Customs authorities carried out 2,504 actions against counterfeiting in 2015. Almost 2.6 million products were seized. More than 50% of these products were found in ports and almost 75% originated in Asia.
In 2015 a total of 50,715 trade marks, 2,882 patents and 1,927 industrial designs were filed at the OEPM, the Spanish trade mark and patent office. IP rights are considered positive and necessary by entrepreneurs. However there is still work to be done to promote IP awareness among citizens and visitors. Spain is interesting for counterfeiters not only because of the market that represents by itself but because of the 72 million of tourists that visit our country every year. IP protection in Spain has evolved positively in the past 10 years but there are still things to do and there will be new challenges to face.