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Intellectual property | Brussels, 14 December 2020

Watch List: Commission puts counterfeit and piracy hotspots in the spotlight

The Commission’s second Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List, published today, names websites and physical marketplaces outside the EU that are reported to engage in, facilitate or benefit from counterfeiting and piracy. These activities undermine intellectual property rights of EU companies and creators, harm EU businesses and jobs and threaten consumers’ health and safety.

The Watch List aims to encourage the operators of these marketplaces and of the intermediaries providing services to them, as well as local enforcement authorities and governments to take action to stop or prevent intellectual property infringements. It also aims to raise awareness among EU citizens on the environmental, product safety and other risks of purchasing from these potentially problematic markets.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office, the European Anti-Fraud Office and Europol have also contributed to the preparation of the Watch List.

The Watch List has four focus areas: websites providing copyright-protected content, e-commerce platforms, online pharmacies and physical marketplaces.

The list reports on the input received during a public consultation (from 19 February to 1 June), where the Commission invited all stakeholders to share their views. More than 70 responses were received, mostly from brand owners, copyright holders, associations and federations representing right holders and associations fighting against IP infringements. E-commerce, social media platforms, providers of internet infrastructure services or associations of providers of technology products and services also contributed to the public consultation.

According to the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the OECD, trade in counterfeit and pirated products amounts annually to around €460 billion worldwide. The European Union is particularly affected, with counterfeit and pirated products amounting up to around 6,8% of all imports or as much as €121 billion a year.

Background

The Commission prepared the Watch List in accordance with the Commission’s Strategy for the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries , the “Trade for all” Communication , the Communication “A balanced IP enforcement system responding to today's societal challenges” and the IP Action Plan .

The Commission updates the Watch List regularly. It will use the Watch List to continue the cooperation with EU's trading partners in the framework of intellectual property rights dialogues and working groups as well as in the framework of the ongoing technical cooperation programmes in China, Southeast Asia and Latin America. The Commission will also monitor the measures and actions taken by the local authorities in relation to the listed marketplaces and service providers as well as the measures and actions taken by the operators, service providers and marketplace owners to curb intellectual property infringements.

The Watch List is not an exhaustive list of the reported marketplaces and service providers and does not contain findings of legal violations. Nor does it provide the Commission services' analysis of the state of protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the countries connected with the listed marketplaces and service providers.

A general analysis of the protection and enforcement of IPR in third countries can be found in the Commission services' separate biennial Report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in countries outside the EU, the latest of which was published on 20 December 2019.

The watch list