MAGNITUDE OF COUNTERFEITING AND PIRACY OF TANGIBLE PRODUCTS

The OECD just published an update on the magniture of counterfeiting and piracy of tangible products. The report, Magnitude of Counterfeiting and Piracy of Tangible Products-An Update, is a useful reminder of the problem and reinforces the need for a global agreement like ACTA to address the problem.

An 2008 OECD study concluded that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods could have accounted for up to USD 200 billion in 2005. The updated estimates, based on the growth and changing composition of trade between 2005 and 2007, suggests that counterfeit and pirated goods in international trade grew steadily over the period 2000 – 2007 and could amount to up to USD 250 billion in 2007.

 Apart from the growing total value of trade in counterfeit and pirated products, the share of counterfeit and pirated goods in world trade also seems to have grown. Between 2000 and 2007, counterfeited and pirated products increased their share in total world trade from 1.85% in 2000 to 1.95% in 2007. The OECD points out that this increase is significant, given that world trade more than doubled over that period.

 The OECD made several recommendations for measures to address the growing problem including developing more effective enforcement means. According to the OECD:

 “Counterfeiting and piracy compel strong and sustained action from governments, business and consumers. Measures to address counterfeiting and piracy include developing more effective enforcement and building public support to combat the counterfeiting and piracy. Increased co-operation between governments, and with industry, would be beneficial, as would better data collection. This update, which includes estimates that suggest that the problem of counterfeiting and piracy has continued to grow, serves to reiterate the call on governments to consider improving legal and regulatory frameworks, enhance enforcement and deepen the evaluation of policies, programmes and practices.

 At the national governmental level, two of the principal challenges in combating counterfeiting and piracy are: 1) to find ways to enhance enforcement; and 2) to raise awareness of counterfeiting and piracy issues. Domestically, governments may consider improving legal and regulatory frameworks, enhancing enforcement and deepening the evaluation of policies, programmes and practices. Ways to strengthen the existing framework and practices could be explored multilaterally.”

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