Counterfeit Goods in the EU: Economic Impact and the Role of Trademark Protection

Counterfeit goods present a significant challenge to industries across the European Union (EU), with detrimental effects on both economic prosperity and consumer safety. A recent study conducted by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has shed light on the widespread prevalence of counterfeit products in the clothing, cosmetics, and toy sectors, highlighting the urgent need for strengthened trademark protection measures.


Igor Demcak

Main Findings

The EUIPO study, drawing on data from 2018 to 2021, reveals alarming statistics regarding the economic impact of counterfeit goods in the EU. In the clothing sector, counterfeit products lead to annual revenue losses of approximately €12 billion, equivalent to 5.2% of total sales. Similarly, the cosmetics industry suffers losses of €3 billion (4.8% of sales), while the toy sector experiences €1 billion in lost revenue (8.7% of sales).

Across the EU, countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Austria bear the brunt of these losses, collectively accounting for nearly €8 billion in reduced sales of genuine goods. However, the impact varies significantly across member states and product categories. For instance, Germany emerges as the most affected country in the toy and clothing sectors, while France leads in cosmetics.

Counterfeit goods not only undermine economic growth but also have dire consequences for the job market, with 160,000 fewer jobs in the clothing sector, 32,000 fewer in cosmetics, and 3,600 fewer in toys due to illicit activities. Moreover, the proliferation of counterfeit products poses substantial health and safety risks for consumers, particularly in the cosmetics and toy sectors, where potentially harmful products account for 15% of counterfeit articles seized at the EU's external borders.

Counterfeits and Trademarks

Trademark protection plays a pivotal role in combating the proliferation of counterfeit goods and safeguarding the interests of legitimate businesses and consumers. Trademarks serve as essential assets for businesses, enabling them to distinguish their products from competitors, build brand reputation, and establish consumer trust.

By securing trademark rights, businesses can prevent unauthorized parties from producing and distributing counterfeit goods that infringe upon their intellectual property. Trademark protection also facilitates legal recourse against counterfeiters, allowing businesses to enforce their rights and seek remedies for damages incurred.

Moreover, trademarks serve as valuable indicators of product authenticity and quality for consumers. A recognizable trademark assures consumers of the origin and reliability of a product, helping them make informed purchasing decisions and avoid counterfeit products that may pose health and safety risks.

Igor Demcak
Igor Demcak

Trademark Attorney

Founder & CEO of Trama

7 year experience in IP protection

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