EU Sees Major Decline in IPR Seizures in 2012, but Value Remains High
The European Commission reports that in 2012 EU customs authorities detained 39.9 million products suspected of violating intellectual property rights, down 65% from 2011. However, the number of detentions fell only slightly to 90,473 and the domestic retail value of goods seized remained high at nearly €1 billion.
According to information provided by the Commission, cigarettes accounted for 30.9% of the total number of articles seized for IPR infringement, followed by miscellaneous goods (e.g. bottles, lamps, glue, batteries, washing powder) at 11.82%, packaging materials at 9.8%, clothing at 8.5%, toys at 4.1% and perfumes and cosmetics at 3.6%.
China continued to be the main source of infringing goods, accounting for 64.5% of the total articles seized, followed by the United Arab Emirates at 8.4%, Hong Kong at 7.8%, Bulgaria at 5.7%, Turkey at 2.6%, Greece at 2.1% and Moldova at 1.7%. However, other countries were the top source for specific product categories, such as Morocco for foodstuffs, Hong Kong for CD/DVDs and other tobacco products (mainly electronic cigarettes and liquid fillings for them), and Bulgaria for packaging materials.
In more than three-quarters (76.8%) of all cases the detained materials were destroyed, while the right-holder initiated a court case to establish IPR infringement for another 13.9%. In 8.2% of the cases, the goods were released because they appeared to be non-infringing original goods (3.26%) or no action was undertaken by the right-holder after receiving notification from customs authorities (4.90%).
The number of cases related to postal and courier traffic remained around 70 % of all detentions and principally concerned shoes, personal accessories like bags and wallets, clothing, and audio/video equipment. In terms of the number of articles detained in postal traffic, medicines remained the top category with 23%.