The European Commission has now published its report for the year 2012 on EU Customs' enforcement of intellectual property rights. This report provides us with statistical information on the number of detentions and other customs actions over the past year. A copy of the full report can be found here.

Looking at the number of goods (or "articles" as they are referred to in the report) which have been detained, there has been a decrease in the number of individual articles; from 114,772,812 articles detained in 2011 to just 39,917,445 in 2012. However, the number of "cases", classed by the report as an interception of goods by customs (i.e. instances of imports being detained, regardless of the number of individual articles contained in said import), has remained relatively stable at 90,473 in 2012 compared with 91,245 in 2011. The report notes that customs have seen a shift in the major trends, due to the use of the internet and the availability of goods online, towards small packages of goods which infringe intellectual property rights coming into the EU through post and couriers.

Some headlines from the report

  • Number of articles detained are down over 65% to 39,917,445 (from 114,772,812 in 2011);
  • Lower number of cases at 90,473 (91,245 in 2011);
  • China remains the main country of provenance;
  • Morocco is highest country of provenance for foodstuffs, Hong Kong and China for CD and DVD and tobacco products generally and finally Bulgaria for packaging material;
  • The top categories by types of articles were cigarettes (30%), other goods (11%), packaging materials (9%), clothing (8%), toys (4%) and perfumes and cosmetics (3%);
  • Postal and courier cases accounted for 70% of cases;
  • 90% of cases resulted in destruction either after the owner of the goods and the right-holder agreed on destruction, or after the right-holder initiated court action; and
  • Goods were released in 8% of cases either because the right-owner did not react to notification or because the articles were genuine goods (3.2%).

The full report goes on to detail numerous other statistics and provides useful graphs and charts to reflect the current trends in relation to intellectual property rights and is well worth a read.