Counterfeiting crime surged across UK and Europe during pandemic

The latest Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment, produced by Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) reveals that the distribution of counterfeit goods thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IP Crime Threat Assessment by Europol and the EUIPO highlight huge increases of imported healthcare products from China, which grew by 900 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 2019 and criminals exploited this momentum.

The pandemic also accelerated e-commerce and between 2018 and 2020 online retail sales increased by 41 per cent. According to the report counterfeit and pirated goods in the EU now have an estimated value of a staggering 119 billion Euros, representing up to 5.8 per cent of all imports.

On the day of the publication of the Anti-Counterfeit Group’s (ACG) annual report, the group’s director general, Phil Lewis says pandemic restrictions resulted in a huge shift towards online shopping.

Transnational criminals were quick to realise the new opportunities and swiftly intensified the manufacture and production of fakes to meet growing demand from consumers who became ever more confident buying online.

Unfortunately, many of these purchases were found to be dangerous fake products, which increasingly threaten the health and safety of families and businesses across the world.

He adds that, “Despite the obvious threats, restrictions, and interruptions, ACG and its partners have worked even more diligently to combat the dangers, to help protect our members and society in general.”