There is an ongoing pursuit to protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), because it contributes enormously to countries’ national economies. Dozens of industries across countries’ economies rely on the adequate enforcement of their patents, trademarks, and copyrights, while consumers use IP to ensure they are purchasing safe, guaranteed products.
The protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is important for the economy and for its further growth in areas such as research, innovation and employment. Effective IPR enforcement is also essential to health and safety. Particularly, IPR creates and supports high-paying jobs, drives economic growth and competitiveness, protect consumers and families, helps generate breakthrough solutions to global challenges, encourage innovation and reward entrepreneurs. For these reasons, IP rights are worth protecting, both domestically and internationally.
The customs authorities at the EU borders are aware that IP infringement can cause some unwelcome consequences. Therefore, the EU takes several precautions such as adopting a new EU Customs Action Plan (CAP). This plan aims to combat IPR infringement for the years 2013 to 2017.
The strategic objectives of this plan are:
• the effective implementation and monitoring of the new EU legislation on IPR enforcement by customs;
• tackling the trade in IPR infringing goods throughout the international supply chain;
• addressing the major trends in trade in IPR infringing goods;
• strengthening the cooperation with the European Observatory on IPR and law enforcement agencies.
Since 2000, the EU custom authorities publish an annual report on the activities of the customs’ services with respect to IPR enforcement. It contains statistics on the type, origin and transport of counterfeit goods at the EU’s external borders which have been confiscated. It is important to acknowledge for what kind of infringement goods have been seized by customs authorities over the year in order to adopt an adequate strategy and take necessary measures.
According to this report customs had held nearly 36 million units of counterfeit goods at EU borders in 2013. It represents a value of 760 million euros. As expected, the 66% of all detained goods come from China and 13% from Hong Kong. Turkey and Egypt are also high ranking countries when it comes to specific product categories such as perfumes, cosmetics and food.
Finally, as mentioned above IPR protection is very important in many ways. Even the high efforts of the EU custom authorities are not sufficient to dissolve the IP infringements. However, it is possible to decrease the number of IP infringements by increasing the awareness of consumers and following the rules that the authorities adopt.