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Counterfeiting and Piracy: Economic and Policy Perspectives Athens – 4 April 2009 Danny Scorpecci Principal Economist, Structural Policy Division Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry

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counterfeiting and piracy economic and policy perspectives

Counterfeiting and Piracy: Economic and Policy Perspectives

Athens – 4 April 2009

Danny Scorpecci

Principal Economist,

Structural Policy DivisionDirectorate for Science, Technology and Industry

The views expressed are those of the author in his private capacity and do not necessarily represent those of the OECD or its Member governments.

the oecd project
The OECD Project
  • Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy
  • Phase 1: Counterfeit and pirated products
  • Tangible products that infringe trademarks, copyrights, patents or design rights, report published in May 2008
  • Phase 2: Digital piracy
  • Approved by Governments, will be published shortly.
  • Phase 3: Other IPR infringements
  • To be scoped and funded.
why have different phases to the study
Why have different Phases to the study?

This reflects very different markets for products covered

  • Phase I: addressed physical/tangible goods, hence:
    • fabrication facilities (hence investment), physical transportation/distribution, targeted markets, products attacked often mature
  • Phase II: addressed digital material, hence:
    • virtually zero marginal cost of reproduction, no physical goods, digital delivery; broad markets, products attacked at point of greatest intrinsic value

These differences could be important for prosecutors

phase i counterfeit and pirated products
Phase I counterfeit and pirated products

Sectoral case studies

Sectors studied in depth

  • automotive products
  • food/drink products
  • pharmaceuticals
  • tobacco products
  • music recordings
  • motion pictures and other video content
  • electrical components (including batteries)
  • Other sectors considered
  • luxury goods, perfumes and fashion clothes
  • chemicals and pesticides
  • sportswear and other branded clothing
  • personal care, toiletry and household products
  • books
  • industrial and consumer motor lubricants
  • aircraft components
  • toys
  • computer software

Magnitude of the problem

  • Measurement needs rigorous methodology, but data is hard to find
      • activities are illicit and clandestine
      • enforcement and customs data are sparse, incomplete and inconsistent
      • enterprises may be reluctant to divulge data
  • Analysis showed that international trade in counterfeit or pirated products could have been up to US$ 200 billion in 2005

The figure does not include

        • domestically produced and consumed products
        • non-tangible pirated digital products

If added, the figure could be several hundred billion dollars higher


Extent of the problem

  • Virtually everything can (and probably has) been counterfeited, and is taking place in virtually every economy

Analysis confirms counterfeiting of

      • increasingly complex products
      • sophisticated packaging
      • security items (i.e. holograms)
  • Growing trend towards everyday products intended to deceive consumers, many of which may affect public health and safety, eg
      • car parts
      • Pharmaceuticals
      • food/drink
  • Evidence of growing infiltration of legitimate supply chains – an area of interest to organised crime

Digital piracy

  • Selected market drivers
    • Supply drivers
    • Attitude towards piracy
    • Reciprocity mechanism
    • Ease of distribution
    • Profitability (or alternatively lack of cost)
    • Legal and regulatory framework
    • Demand drivers
    • Attitude towards piracy
    • Availability
    • Technical quality
    • Low security awareness
    • Ineffective enforcement
main effects
Main Effects

Counterfeiting and piracy…

  • can impact negatively on innovation and growth
  • may reduce employment where originals are produced
  • can reduce foreign direct investment (FDI) where C&P takes place
  • damages sales volume, profits, brand value and capitalisation of rights’ owners, and can lead to unwarranted potential legal liability
  • can negatively affect consumer confidence
  • can seriously affect health and safety of users
  • evidence that legitimate supply lines are being infiltrated
  • reduces tax revenues to governments
  • induces high costs on governments and industry to combat C&P
  • encourages corruption and participation by organised crime
why is organised crime interested in c p
Why is organised crime interested in C&P?
  • Profitability is high
  • Market is large
  • Demand is heavy
  • Risk of detection and prosecution is relatively low
  • Even if successfully prosecuted penalties low, especially when compared to other illicit activities such as drugs
  • Can use bribery, corruption and coercion to facilitate business and reduce risks
attributes of organised crime suitable for c p
Attributes of organised crime suitable for C&P
  • Resources to invest in production facilities
  • Can obtain templates, plans and originals for copying
  • Can create and maintain complex supply chains
  • Experience in smuggling
  • Can establish effective distribution/sales networks
  • Can infiltrate legitimate supply chains
  • Can protect operatives at all levels
  • Can use bribery/corruption/coercion
distribution channels
Distribution channels

While many counterfeited goods are smuggled, most are transported using normal commercial transport services

  • often with appropriate documentation (such as Bills of Lading)
  • products are accurately described so it is not always clear when these may be counterfeited
  • this places considerable onus on customs officials to determine provenance, as many counterfeits can only be identified by rigorous testing (eg car parts, pharmaceuticals)
  • extensive use of Free-Trade Zones
laws regulations often ineffective
Laws & regulations often ineffective
  • Not properly enforced
  • Insufficient public enforcement resources
  • Low priority in courts
  • Protection of locals
  • Courts often lenient because counterfeiting and piracy are not always considered to be serious crimes
  • Penalties don’t always deter
importance vs priority
Importance vs. Priority
  • Most governments have labelled counterfeiting and piracy as important problems.
  • However, not always matched by priority. Other illicit activities given first call on resources (drugs, people smuggling, gun running)
  • Governments may better respond to these problems if they appreciate the corrosive effects of C&P.
    • especially if full account taken of role of organised crime, the effects on health and safety, foregone tax revenue and weakened incentive to innovate

For the attention of policymakers

  • Improve co-ordination amongst domestic agencies
  • Consider having a clear C&P policy
  • Have a clear and enforceable legal and regulatory framework
  • Ensure effective enforcement
  • International co-operation, especially with respect to cross-border transactions involving digital products
  • Increase awareness amongst government officials and education of consumers
  • Enhance co-operation with industry
danny scorpecci directorate for science technology and industry

Further information available

>>> Contact us

Danny Scorpecci

Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry


2, rue André-Pascal

75775 Paris CEDEX 16


Phone: (+33) 1 4524 9433

Fax: (+33) 1 4430 6257