As a first step to counter the steady rise of cybercrime, the European Commission has generated a working report that will be updated continuously to stay informed on the perpetrators of Intellectual Property Rights infringements (IPR). You can read the document in its entirety here. But in case you find the 39-page report daunting, we’ve summarized the key points for you in this article.
The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property initiated a study that confirmed what we already knew: counterfeiting and piracy cause serious sales and revenue losses for companies. These losses are proven to have both a direct and indirect impact on job losses in the EU and EU Member States. Though this probably comes as no surprise, the study proved that counterfeits almost always pose a risk to consumers who receive them. Their reasoning was based on the lack of quality controls and certification protocols in place during the manufacturing process.
A notable point the report established was the relation between counterfeiters to organized crime. They found that the groups who are perpetrating Intellectual Property Rights crimes are also involved in other crimes, such as drug trafficking, excise fraud, human trafficking or money laundering.
The study took the shape of a public consultation supported by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Europol, and a number of other sources. Together they were able to define and select the criteria that designate the offending marketplaces. The criteria for the marketplaces named in the watch list were their location outside of the EU, their global popularity, and their high volume of sales.
The study found that some domain registrars facilitate the sale of counterfeit drugs due to the lack of prohibitions in place for online pharmacies. This is said to ease the sale of counterfeit drugs to unsuspecting consumers.
The EUIPO’s study, focusing on the economic cost of IPR infringement in the pharmaceutical sector, indicated that 4,4% of the legitimate medicines sales (around EUR 10,2 billion) are lost in the EU each year because of counterfeiting.
Another interesting statistic is that over 50% of the medicines sold online are reported to be counterfeit, according to a study performed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This can be attributed back to illicit online pharmacies, who seem to play the biggest role in the online distribution of counterfeit medicines
The categories listed on the Watch List are named below, but for this particular summary, we decided to name only those listed under “e-commerce platforms.” If you’d like to see those named in other categories, you can find them from page nine onwards in the full report.
- Stream-ripping websites
- Linking or referrer websites
- Peer-to-peer and BitTorrent indexing websites
- Unlicensed pay-per-download sites
- Websites for Piracy Apps
- Hosting Providers
- E-Commerce Platforms
The Watch List
The offending marketplaces noted on the Watch List’s E-Commerce Platforms are the following:
- Bukalapak – In 2017 the luxury industry reported 26,000 listings offering counterfeit goods on this platform
- EVO Company Group (Tiu.ru, Prom.ua, Bigl.ua, Deal.by and Satu.kz) – It’s been reported that their takedown process is very long and tedious and often unsuccessful
- Lazada.co.th – Lazada is one of the most popular online e-commerce (business to consumers) platforms in Thailand
- Naver.com – One of the major online e-commerce platforms in Korea and is operated by Naver Corporation
- Snapdeal.com – Snapdeal is one of the most popular online e-commerce (business to consumers) platforms in India
- Xxjcy.com and China-Telecom are China-based business to business marketplaces
- Additional platforms – Aliexpress.com, Tmall.com, Taobao.com, 1688.com
Not listed on the Watch List
You may be wondering why eBay and Amazon not listed on the Watch List, although these online behemoths admit that there is a significant amount of allegedly counterfeit goods being sold on their platforms despite their best efforts. However, unlike the above-mentioned platforms, these two marketplaces have anti-counterfeting measures in place and it was reported that their level of compliance with takedown requests and other forms of effectively tackling illegal content was relatively high.
Spotted a fake?
If you think you’ve found a counterfeit product online, you can report it through our website here. And if you have concerns over the validity of another form of cybercrime, you are welcome to reach out to the the European Commission Services. Please remember that the Watch List is constantly evolving and expanding, and the public is always invited to be a part of the solution.