ASEAN countries fight trade in counterfeit goods

Event Calendar Press Releases Monday April 29, 2019 13:29
Bangkok--29 Apr--EUIPO
  • The intensity of counterfeiting and piracy is on the rise, with significant potential risk for intellectual property (IP) in the knowledge-based, open and globalised economy.
  • International trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is estimated at up to EUR 460 billion
  • The share of counterfeit goods in world trade has increased from 2.5% in estimates released in 2016, to 3.3%

Enforcement officials, investigators, and prosecutors from across the ASEAN region discussed best practices for addressing the trade in counterfeit goods at a workshop on the enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights held in Manila last week. Talks covered online business models used for the infringement of IP rights, investigative techniques and intelligence gathering, as well as measures to combat infringement, particularly in the online environment.

The trade in counterfeit products diverts revenue from legitimate businesses, depletes innovation and development, and underpins organised crime networks. In addition, counterfeits are generally of low quality and are potentially harmful to consumers. A wide range of products are affected, including footwear, clothing, electrical machinery, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and toys.

A report released this year by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that counterfeit and pirated goods represented up to 3.3% of world trade in 2016, or as much as EUR 460 billion. This share has grown significantly, from up to 2.5% estimated in 2013.

Presenting at the workshop, IP Enforcement Expert Erling Vestergaard, European Observatory on Infringements of IP Rights, highlighted a number of EU initiatives that address the issue. "Strong IP enforcement legislation in the EU provides police and customs agencies with the powers they need to successfully intercept counterfeit goods," he noted to attendees.

The enforcement workshop is one of a series of activities to mark World Intellectual Property Day 2019 being conducted by the five-year, EU-funded ARISE+ IPR programme. Taking place back-to-back with the workshop, ARISE+ IPR is also hosting the 4th meeting of the ASEAN Network of IPR Enforcement Experts (ANIEE) in Manila on 25-26 April, as well as supporting ANIEE members' participation in World Intellectual Property Day activities with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.

ANIEE consists of representatives from the ASEAN Member States involved in IPR enforcement and is tasked by the ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC) to undertake the implementation of the IPR enforcement initiatives under the ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2016-2025.

World Intellectual Property Day is held annually on 26 April to highlight the importance of IP in encouraging innovation and creativity. The global theme for 2019 is IP and Sports.

The ARISE Plus Intellectual Property Rights (ARISE+ IPR) programme is one of the components under the Enhanced ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the European Union (EU), or ARISE Plus. The five-year, EUR5.5 million ARISE+ IPR programme supports regional integration through intellectual property (IP) cooperation and aims to upgrade the IP systems for creation, protection, utilisation, administration and enforcement, in line with international best practices and standards and the strategic objectives of the ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2016-2025.

ARISE+ IPR aims to:
  • Enhance participation of ASEAN Member States in international IP treaties and global systems
  • Contribute to institutional capacity building towards more efficient ASEAN IP offices
  • Increase political and public awareness of the importance of IP protection and enforcement
  • Reinforce the capacity of ASEAN businesses to commercialise and protect their IP rights
  • Provide tailor-made support to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar to promote IP rights and innovation

ARISE+ IPR operates concurrently with another EU-funded project also implemented by the EUIPO, IP Key SEA, which shares the same thematic and geographical scope. Each programme has a distinct focus and approach, with ARISE+ IPR targeting economic integration within ASEAN and IP Key SEA focusing on fostering convergence in the area of IP between individual Southeast Asian nations and the EU, particularly with a view to supporting bilateral trade agreements with comprehensive chapters on intellectual property rights, whether concluded or under negotiation, as well as IP dialogues. The programmes are complementary and have the same ultimate objective: to improve the intellectual property environment in the region for the benefit of all stakeholders operating with and within the region.


The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is an agency of the EU, based in Alicante, Spain. It manages the registration of the European Union trade mark (EUTM) and the Registered Community Design (RCD), both of which provide protection in all 28 EU member-states, as well as carrying out cooperation activities with the national and regional intellectual property offices of the EU. Under the goals of its Strategic Plan 2020, the EUIPO, in cooperation with national and regional EU IP offices, aims to promote global cooperation on IP between EU partners, third countries and multilateral organisations.

Ana-Maria Harda
Tel.: +34 666 432 447; e-mail:

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