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Taxation and Customs Union

Intellectual Property Rights - Facts and figures

Every year, the European Commission publishes a report describing the customs serizures of articles suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (IPR) such as trademarks, copyrights and patents.

The first joint annual report published by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) describes seizures of articles suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (IPR) such as trademarks, copyrights and patents in the EU’s internal market and at external borders in 2020.

In 2020, fake goods with a value of almost €2 billion were seized in the EU’s internal market and at external borders, compared to some €2.5 billion in 2019. At EU’s external borders, customs authorities seized faked products with a retail value of €778 million. While this is a 2.4% increase in value on 2019, the actual number of seized products decreased in the same period. As for seizures in the internal market, police and market surveillance authorities stopped more fake products than in 2019 (an increase of more than 4.6%).

Report on the EU enforcement of intellectual property rights in 2020

The number of fake items detained and not released in the EU was approximately 66 million items in 2020. This implies a reduction of almost 13 % compared to data from 2019 (76 million).

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Overall, in 2020 Member State customs authorities made seizures of 27 million individual items that infringed on intellectual property rights (41 million in 2019), while the number of fake items detained in the EU internal market amounted to 46 million items, which means an increase of 3.6 % (1.6 million items) compared to 2019.

Clothing accessories were the main counterfeited product, both in terms of the number of items seized and their estimated value, followed by packaging materials, recorded CDs/ DVDs and labels, tags and stickers, and clothing. These subcategories accounted for 49 % of the products recorded. The COVID-19 crisis had a significant impact on the volume of articles detained.

In terms of numbers of fake goods detained by customs authorities at the border, the top three categories were packaging materials (23.3%), foodstuffs (17.2%) and clothing (9,6%). When it comes to internal market detentions, the top three articles detained were clothing accessories (21.5%), recorded CDs/DVDs (18.6%) and packaging materials (8.1%).

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As in the previous years, China is the main source third country for fake and counterfeit goods entering the EY in 2020, followed by Hong Kong, China, and Turkey. Postal, express and air transport remain the principal means of transport in terms of the number of consignments registered.

More information

Report on the EU enforcement of intellectual property rights in 2020

Previous IPR Reports

EUIPO Report on detentions within the EU internal market