Dec 11, 2018

EU publishes its first Counterfeiting and Piracy Watch List

Following in the footsteps of the US, the EU has published its first Counterfeiting and Piracy Watch List. The list focuses on four main areas where counterfeiting and piracy are most prevalent and problematic. They are websites providing copyright-protected content, e-commerce platforms, online pharmacies, and physical marketplaces.

Unsurprisingly the list named China as one of the biggest suppliers of counterfeit products, and specifically names the Huaqiangbei Electronics Markets as physical marketplaces dealing in counterfeit goods.

In its assessment of the digital sphere there is strong condemnation of BitTorrent websites and the much-famed website, which have long been known to provide access to copyright-infringing material (though not hosting such themselves). Piracy apps, which allow users to "rip" (download and store) legitimately streamed material (e.g. from YouTube) are also named. This type of activity denies the content provider of the further advertising revenue that normally flows from further views on YouTube (or any other platform) as the viewer can then listen or watch offline. The music industry sees this as one of the biggest threats it faces from piracy.

An entire chapter of the list is dedicated to online pharmacies. This is a serious problem that goes to health as well as rights-protection, and there is an assertion that only 4% of online-only pharmacies are operating entirely legally. That is a worrying statistic for an industry enjoying significant growth, especially as online pharmacies are often a source of comfort for patients who are most vulnerable (the old, infirm, or mobility-restricted particularly).

Somewhat surprisingly Canada appears on the list of countries considered a threat due to physical marketplace counterfeiting. It is named alongside the usual suspects of China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Russia and the UAE.

The EUIPO has announced that worldwide trade in pirated or counterfeited products or services amounts to €338billion per year. You can read the entire Watch List document here.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or

in: Copyright, EU/International

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