More than 5 million advertisements for the online sale of counterfeit products were withdrawn in December and January, according to a survey by the Unifab association among its members, companies and professional federations engaged in the fight against counterfeiting.
According to Unifab, all sectors are affected by this phenomenon, from leather goods to ready-to-wear, including activities that may present dangers to public health, such as pharmacy or automotive equipment.
"The alarming results of these statistics point to a much greater reality, and much darker, if all the data had been collected from the 200 companies that make up Unifab", comments the association.
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Unifab reiterates its demand for "increased accountability of online sales platforms and social networks", in the wake of a report presented in December by deputies Christophe Blanchet and Pierre-Yves Bournazel with 18 proposals.
According to Unifab, these platforms have become “the El Dorado for counterfeiters”.
Its president Christian Peugeot calls for "a collective awareness, and mainly political decision-makers".
However, many texts already exist: the Charter for the fight against counterfeiting on the Internet between holders of industrial property rights and electronic commerce platforms of December 16, 2009, then between holders of industrial property rights and classified ads platforms on internet of February 7, 2012 and finally holders of industrial property rights and postal operators of February 7, 2012.
In principle, the platforms have undertaken to remove any potential ads posted by an infringer and the rights holders have undertaken to notify the platforms of the ads containing counterfeit products.
These charters also provide for certain sanctions against counterfeiters.
the platform on which a counterfeit product is offered for sale may pronounce an exclusion for a period of six months against the e-seller.
This sanction can be extended to five years in the event that the seller reoffends.
More than 6 billion euros in losses for French companies
For the buyer, the risks are not neutral.
Even if he has not acted knowingly, he exposes himself to prosecution and the risk of conviction.
The Intellectual Property Code and the Customs Code condemn any importation or exportation of counterfeit products on French territory.
Similarly, the mere possession of a counterfeit product exposes its holder to a fine of up to 300,000 euros and to three years' imprisonment, according to article 615-14 of the Intellectual Property Code, and to three years' imprisonment and a fine of between one and two times the value of the object of fraud according to article 414 of the Customs Code.
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Online sales of counterfeit products represent billions of dollars in revenue each year and it is difficult to stop this profusion of illicit products.
According to the latest report from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the agency that manages the registration of trademarks in the EU, counterfeiting costs eleven key sectors EUR 56 billion each year of the European economy and nearly 6.8 billion euros in France alone.