Fight Against Counterfeits Steps Up

Written by Mark Eiffe | June 19, 2023

Ireland & the EU

The EU Intellectual Property Office has released an analysis report on its operation ‘Fake Star’ “The sale of counterfeit clothes, shoes and accessories in the EU: a profitable market for criminals and a transnational phenomenon” that ran from March 2022 to February 2023.

Ireland was one of 17 member states that participated in the operation as part of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (‘EMPACT’). Non-EU countries that participated were Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Serbia and there was involvement from the private and public sectors in relation to the clothing and shoe industries, financial service providers, associations, police forces, judicial authorities, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the European Anti-Fraud Office.

Some key findings of the report include:

  • Legitimate industries lose an estimated €23.3 billion in direct lost sales annually and €37 billion in total lost sales due to the presence of counterfeit clothing, footwear, and accessories in the EU marketplace. This translates into a direct employment loss of 263,196 workers and a total employment loss of 373,476 workers, as the legitimate manufacturers and retailers made and sold less than they would have done in the absence of counterfeiting.
  • The counterfeit goods identified during the operation mostly originated from outside the EU, namely China, Vietnam and Turkey and were intended for the European market, however domestic production sites were also identified during the operation, namely in Hungary, Portugal, and Spain.
  • During the operation, considerable use of social media, to advertise counterfeit goods has been detected. Criminal traders openly publish photo albums on their socials containing images of available counterfeit merchandise, notably clothing and footwear.
  • ‘Conventional selling’, i.e., street markets and hawkers of counterfeit goods, still accounts for a significant trade in counterfeit goods in the EU.
  • 258 registered trade marks were found to have been infringed.

This report highlights the importance of availing of the Irish and EU intellectual property protection framework for your business. Enforcement of IP rights has teeth and brings results.

If you have any queries in relation to your business’s trade marks, copyright, designs, or any aspect of its intellectual property in Ireland, the EU, the UK or further afield, contact us at


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