27 March 2024


The European Commission has published Recommendations to combat counterfeiting and enhance the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) across the EU. This move, prompted by the surge in counterfeit goods, which constituted nearly 6% of EU imports in 2019, aims to safeguard innovation, investment, and the green transition. The strategy, summarized in the "Toolbox against counterfeiting," focuses on five key areas: promoting cooperation and information sharing, advancing IP enforcement procedures, adapting IP practices to digital advancements, aiding SMEs in protecting their assets, and boosting IP awareness and education.

This initiative targets a broad audience, including Member States' authorities, EU economic operators, SMEs, and even EU bodies like the EUIPO, to foster a unified front against IP infringements. Special attention is given to online counterfeiting and piracy, advocating for the use of AI and other technologies to detect and combat illegal online content.

The Recommendations stress the importance of cooperation between public and private sectors, streamlining enforcement procedures, and adapting IP practices to modern technologies like AI and blockchain. It also highlights the significance of supporting SMEs through tools like the IP scan enforcement voucher and a Cybertheft Prevention Toolkit. The Commission, with the EUIPO Observatory, will monitor the Recommendation's impact, ensuring it remains effective against the evolving landscape of IP crime and technological advancement, maintaining a strong stance against counterfeiting and piracy within the EU.

The toolbox makes a number of recommendations related to transport and logistics to prevent the misuse of their services for IP-infringing activities.  CLECAT is analyzing the recommendations and is concerned about a number of recommendations which have not taken commercial realities into account.  Whilst LSPs are supportive of due diligence by inspecting suspicious consignments, it is

unreasonable, disproportionate and impossible to oblige LSPs to proactively investigate, exchange information, supervise and implement systems for the detection of IPR infringements. Physical controls of the goods to detect counterfeits must stay with national or EU authorities, as it would be disproportionate to task LSPs to make informed, legally binding judgments on the authenticity of inspected goods, even for staff which is trained and employed to check goods for IPR infringements.

Therefore, CLECAT firmly believes that LSPs, handling hundreds of thousands of consignments daily for and behalf of their clients, cannot be held responsible and therefore liable for IPR infringements, as this is beyond their control.

The full position paper setting out the views, concerns and recommendations of the European freight forwarding, transport and logistics industry on the EU Toolbox against counterfeiting can be downloaded here