A recent report from the Organisation for Economic and Co-operation and Development (OECD) confirms what has been known for a long time: that counterfeiting and piracy of tangible goods is a major impediment to global trade, and is only getting worse. Entitled “Magnitude of Counterfeiting and Piracy of Tangible Products — November 2009 update,” the report updates a previous major study on counterfeiting undertaken by the OECD in 2008. The report estimates that global trade in counterfeit and pirated tangible goods more than doubled in this decade to approximately $250 billion US in 2007, up from just over $100 billion US in 2001.

Apart from the growing total value of trade in counterfeit and pirated products, the share of counterfeit and pirated goods in world trade also seems to have grown. Between 2000 and 2007, the report estimates that counterfeited and pirated products increased their share in total world trade from 1.85 per cent in 2000 to 1.95 per cent in 2007. The OECD points out that this increase is significant, given that world trade more than doubled over that period.

The OECD made several recommendations for measures to address the growing problem, including: developing more effective enforcement means, raising awareness of and building public support to combat piracy and counterfeiting, and improving legal and regulatory frameworks.

McCarthy Tétrault Notes:

The report is a useful reminder of the problem and reinforces the need for a global agreement like the Anti- Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to address the problem.