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Selling fake goods harm the sales of EU exporters. The holders of intellectual property rights need access to effective international rules and a solid, predictable legal system.

The EU needs effective Intellectual Property (IP) enforcement because commercial-scale counterfeiting and piracy causes:

  • financial losses for right holders and legitimate businesses, both in the European Union and in other countries
  • undermine the EU's advantages in innovation and creativity, harming European businesses and people
  • cause risks to consumer health and safety, and the environment

Enforcing IPR in EU trade policy

The EU's current strategy to enforce IPR in non-EU countries is in place since 2014. The objective is to promote better intellectual property standards in non-EU countries and stop the trade in IPR-infringing good.

Strategy for the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries

The Commission regularly conducts surveys on the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Report of latest IPR survey (2021)  

The report gives EU rights' holders information on the effectiveness of IPR regimes in countries outside the EU.

It also lets rights holders improve their business strategies and operations to protect their intellectual property. They can better manage risk around their IPR when doing business in, or with, certain non-EU countries.

This assessment also helps the EU define certain countries where the protection and/or enforcement of intellectual property are detrimental to EU interests.

The report also benefit non-EU country authorities' understanding of the perception of EU users of their IPR systems, particularly potential areas for improvement.

The Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List

The EU's Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List helps identify the marketplaces outside the EU where counterfeiting, piracy or other forms of intellectual property abuse are common practice.

The initiative is part of the Commission's strategy announced in the 2017 Communication about Intellectual Property enforcement.

Based on stakeholders' input, the future watch-list will help to raise awareness of consumers that might be buying products in those marketplaces, and encourage their operators and owners to crack down on intellectual property abuse.

Watchlist report (2018)