The pandemic and the counterfeit market: a joint EUIPO- OECD study on trade marks and fakes

16 April, 2024
Study Highlights Illicit Trade in Fakes and Trade Mark Filings Trends During COVID-19
Benefits of IP
New challenges, new solutions: EUIPO OECD study examines counterfeiting trends in the COVID era.

This joint report from the OECD and the EUIPO enhances evidence on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on international trade in counterfeit goods. It analyses shifts in products’ demand and supply chains during and after the pandemic. It also looks at the specific new challenges faced by enforcement authorities during and after COVID-19, and the new governance initiatives addressing them. Finally, the report draws lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and outlines some recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of fight against counterfeits in the future.

Main findings

  • Covid-19 created shifts in demand and disruptions in logistics chains affecting both genuine and counterfeit goods;
  • The health crisis resulted in increased demand of COVID related goods such as personal protection equipment (PPE), test kits and medicines;
  • Measures adopted by governments to deal with the health risks triggered shifts in consumer habits that resulted in changes in the product mix of imports. While the share of electronic products in total imports to EU27 increased, the share of clothing or cosmetics decreased;
  • Those changes in relative importance of products were accompanied by a notable increase in e-commerce transactions;
  • The counterfeit networks adapted swiftly to changes in consumer preferences. Public authorities registered increased number of seizures of counterfeit COVID-related products;
  • Health risks, Covid restrictions and increased volume of imports created additional challenges for enforcement authorities;
  • Covid underlined the necessity for cohesive, integrated response to counterfeiting involving both public and private entities.

How was the study conducted?

The study combines analysis of data, official documents, and interviews with enforcement experts. Data analysis focused on documenting the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, government responses to health threats, patterns of imports of goods to the EU 27 and seizures of counterfeit goods by the EU and US enforcement institutions. The data analysis was supplemented with structured interviews with enforcement experts and analysis of documents in order to obtain information on the specific challenges facing enforcement authorities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and to document new initiatives to adapt to the new challenges.

Read the full report here.

Read the executive summary here.

Article first published here.