mardi, août 03, 2010

United Kingdom: Counterfeit goods seizures reflect pressure on businesses

Counterfeit goods seizures reflect pressure on businesses

Contributed by Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP

 


Information published by the European Commission on July 23 2010 on the number of customs cases involving counterfeit goods shows that the United Kingdom faces a major problem with imported counterfeit products. The report reveals that the number of cases handled by UK Customs jumped by 63% from 1,295 to 2,117 between 2008 and 2009. However, the United Kingdom still lags behind other major EU economies: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands all handled more cases.

Businesses face serious problems as a result of counterfeit goods entering the United Kingdom from abroad; the increase in cases demonstrates the scale of the threat. The commission's data is all the more concerning for UK companies because cases involving products that are suspected of infringing IP rights reflect only a small proportion of the counterfeit goods entering the country.

The economic climate in 2009 meant that more consumers were tempted to purchase fake products. The trend also raises concerns about budgetary pressure on Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, although the fact that the proceeds of counterfeit goods are used to fund organised crime makes such infringement a key target for the UK authorities.

As many counterfeit goods go undetected by the EU customs authorities, companies must use the national laws in EU member states to protect their intellectual property after the goods have arrived. The commission's report showed that the majority of counterfeit items entering the European Union came from China, the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, with China alone accounting for 64% of suspect goods.

For further information on this topic please contact Andrew Hobson or Georgia Warren at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP by telephone (+44 20 3060 6000), fax (+44 20 3060 7000) or email (andrew.hobson@rpc.co.uk or georgia.warren@rpc.co.uk).