The European Commission has published its 2010 Report on EU customs enforcement of intellectual property rights, stating that there were 79,112 detentions of goods suspected of infringing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) leading to 103.3 million seized items with a domestic retail value of €1.1 billion.
What were the most frequently seized articles?
- Cigarettes – 34%
- Office stationary – 9%
- Other tobacco products – 8%
- Labels, tags and emblems – 8%
- Clothing – 7%
- Toys – 7%
85% of the seized goods originated from China. The report illustrates the continuing problem of counterfeit smuggling into the EU.
The UK Border Agency has revealed that they seized over 8.5 million smuggled Viagra pills worth around £13 million during raids in 2010. The tablets were either fakes or illegally imported without license – either way, they are not subjected to the rigorous testing required of legitimate medicines sold in the UK and EU. Six million of the illicit pills were intercepted at Heathrow airport alone. UKBA have uploaded some photos which illustrate the scale of the operation at http://www.flickr.com/photos/49956354@N04/sets/72157626008296233/with/5476243522/
Amazingly three hundred corner stores have been offered black-market tobacco to sell, research has revealed….
Border officials have successfully stopped more than four million cigarettes aimed at the black market being smuggled into Britain…
Negotiators from 37 countries Saturday reached a basic agreement on an international treaty to crack down on counterfeit and pirated products at a meeting in Tokyo, the Japanese government has said. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is designed to create an international framework to halt the distribution of counterfeit brand goods and pirated music and film products…
Imperial Tobacco is providing the European Union with $300m (£190m) to combat cigarette smuggling but will still face penalties if the action fails to stem the flow of illegal products bearing its brand names.
Another success for SOCA – A joint operation between the Spanish National Police and the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) led to a yacht being intercepted off the Spanish coast as it attempted to ferry 1,5ookg of cocaine from South America to Europe. With a wholesale value of £75 million, the shipment is estimated to have a street value of around £210 million.
The illegal tobacco trade and its links to organised crime will be the focus of a summit in Perth today. Retailers, police and health representatives will attend the one-day conference at the town’s concert hall.
An article on the UK Border Agencies website demonstrates their dedication to fighting the trade of counterfeit goods. Almost £4 million worth of counterfeits, including iphones, ipads and designer jewellery, have been seized over the summer months. The article highlights the need for effective collaboration between the authorities and industry in the investigation of counterfeits as the smuggling techniques become more sophisticated.
The Scotsman has obtained figures from the tobacco industry which reveal significant increases in smuggling of illegal cigarettes. The article, published on Saturday, found that 31 per cent of packets in Scotland were illegal, up 10 per cent from 2009. The figures also show that the worst area in the UK is the north of England where 43 per cent were illegal, up 24 per cent. The Scotsman blames the cut in police staffing of Scotland’s west coast ports for the dramatic increase.
Speaking in 2008, Michael Prideaux, Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at British American Tobacco, estimated “the size of the global illicit trade in cigarettes to be approximately 390 billion sticks annually representing 6% of total world cigarette consumption. This denies worldwide governments approximately US$20 billion in annual tax revenue.”