03 | 05 | 2021
Report on the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries Published by the European Commission
Illustration: Approved by the European Commission
On 27 April 2021, the European Commission published the Report on the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries. Periodic publication of these reports makes one of the activities of the Commission intended to strengthen the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
The Report analyses the situation in countries outside the European Union, where the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights is not at an appropriate level and needs to be improved. The report is specifically aimed at intellectual property rights holders, including small and medium-sized enterprises, as it provides information on possible risks to their intellectual property rights when engaging in business activities or intending to do business in those countries. The information contained in this report can be of great importance to companies in developing business strategies aimed at protecting their intangible assets in these markets.
The report was preceded by a public consultation, conducted by the Commission in autumn 2020. More than 60 stakeholder responses were received in the implementation of the public consultation, in most of the right-holders' organisations. In preparing the report, the Commission used a number of other sources, published studies and research, listed in more detail on p. 9 and 10 of the report.
Infringements of intellectual property rights, better known as counterfeiting and piracy, are a complex and growing global problem. Evidence collected and analysed in their studies by the competent authorities, in particular EUIPO, EUROPOL, OECD and others, indicates that organised crime groups are also involved in counterfeiting and piracy, and that this form of crime is often linked to other serious forms of crime, such as fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion, money laundering, etc.
The report contains a list of third countries where problems are expressed in the inadequate level of respect for intellectual property rights, and these countries are divided into three categories: 1. priority category - China, 2. priority category - India, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, and 3. priority category - Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.
China is still the country from which the largest number of counterfeit and pirated products arrives in the European Union, in terms of both value and volume of such products. More than 80% of counterfeit and pirated products seized by EU customs authorities originated from China and Hong Kong (China).
The report once again highlights the potential risks of counterfeit products for consumers, as the problem of counterfeiting covers a significant number of industrial sectors, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, counterfeit disease protection products were found on the EU market, such as protective face masks, gloves, disinfectants, etc.
On the other hand, copyright infringements (piracy), especially those committed via the Internet and unauthorised protected satellite broadcasting, remain a major issue for the creative sector operating in the European Union. According to the data in the report, this form of infringement of rights is expressed in China, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and some other countries (for details, see page 12 of the report).
The entire report is available here.