Imports of counterfeit and pirated goods are worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year, 461 billion dollars, accounting for around 2.5 percent of global imports, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office.

US, Italian and French brands are the hardest hit and many of the proceeds go towards organised crime, according to the OECD, and it can significantly damaging companies and state coffers.

The report notes that China is the top producer of counterfeit goods and that up to 5 percent of all goods imported into the European Union are fakes, with Louis Vuitton and Nike being two of the hardest hit brands.

The findings come from analysing nearly half a million customs seizures around the world over 2011-13 to produce the most rigorous estimate to date of the scale of counterfeit trade and has increased the estimate of fake goods from 1.9 percent of global imports from the OECD study of 2008 to around 2.5 percent.

According to the OECD, fake products crop up in everything from handbags and perfumes to machine parts and chemicals, with footwear being the most-copied item.

The top countries whose companies had their intellectual property rights infringed in the 2011-13 seizures were the United States, whose brands or patents were affected by 20 percent of the knock-offs, then Italy with 15 percent, and France and Switzerland with 12 percent each. Japan and Germany stood at 8 percent each followed by the UK and Luxembourg.


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