In January 2018, the European Commission signaled the beginning of public consultations aiming on mapping out markets, which thrive by the abuse of intellectual property rights. The initiative is a first step in a series of escalating responses to a form of organised fraud amounting to a 5% of the total imports to the EU and resulting in damages exceeding the 85bn € for EU producers annually. The EU black list will be followed by custom controls and legislative efforts to crack down on pirates as well as consumer awareness campaigns.
The initiative, however, has raised many eyebrows worldwide, amidst rumours related to the targeting of specific competitive to the EU markets. Specifically, manufacturers from China as well as certain Balkan countries feel pinned down by the impending reforms. Furthermore, serious concerns have been raised on the effect that overly restrictive regulations might have on products considered ‘similar’ or ‘substitutes’.
One thing though is certain, that the new rules will affect a considerable part of the global market.