Counterfeiting: 5.2 million illegal ads removed in 2 months on the Internet


5,214,015 ads for various counterfeit products imitating authentic French brand products could be withdrawn in January and February 2021, announces the Union des Fabricants (Unifab), the association which defends French manufacturers against counterfeiters.

Counterfeit products sold on the Internet: all sectors are concerned

It is well known: the Internet is the preferred playground for counterfeiters. And it’s not just forums on the dark web. Everything goes there: classifieds sites, posts on Instagram and Facebook, even sales ads on Facebook Marketplace. But, for once, the Union des Fabricants (Unifab) (the association for the promotion and defense of intellectual property rights which brings together 200 companies and professional federations from all sectors of activity), has decided to act… for example.

Thanks to its reports, 5,214,015 ads for various counterfeit products imitating authentic French brand products were removed from web pages during January and February 2021. Proof that the phenomenon does not affect only a handful of companies or sectors, Unifab took a sample of 20 member companies representing different sectors of activity: leather goods, ready-to-wear, cosmetics, accessories, pharmacy, equipment manufacturers automobiles, sports and acoustics, consumer goods and audiovisual works. Verdict: Ads for counterfeit products imitating the products of each of these 20 companies could easily be found.

Counterfeits, a threat to employment but also to consumer safety

According to a study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), sectors with a high density of protected intellectual property contribute very largely to the prosperity of the European Union since they represent approximately 45% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 29% of employment (as well as an additional 10% generated in sectors that provide goods and services to IPR intensive sectors). They pay their employees salaries that are 47% higher than those in other sectors.

The purchase of counterfeit products can also be detrimental to consumers in the sense that these products can be dangerous (risk of electric shock, fire, strangulation and suffocation, hearing damage, etc.). Counterfeit medicines pose a particular risk to the health and life of consumers. In 2019, 70,804 units of counterfeit medicines were seized by French Customs.