27 June 2018Trademarks

Counterfeit Italian goods cause €25bn lost sales annually, says OECD

Global trade in counterfeit Italian goods, from handbags to food products, cost Italian companies more than €25 billion ($29 billion) in lost sales in 2013, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The intergovernmental organisation released its report on Trade in Counterfeit Goods and the Italian Economy on June 20.

It estimated that the total valued of the fake goods sold worldwide amounted to more than €35 billion ($40.7 billion) in 2013, which is the equivalent of 4.9% of total Italian manufacturing sales.

Italian retailers and wholesalers are estimated to have lost more than €25 billion in sales over the course of the same year due to the counterfeit trade.

The total “price premium unjustly paid by consumers” who believe they are buying a genuine product amounted to almost €2 billion ($2.3 billion) in 2013, the report claimed.

The OECD added that products infringing Italian IP are mainly manufactured in Turkey, China, and Hong Kong, with electronic devices and leather products found to be among the most counterfeited type of Italian articles.

Globally, trade in counterfeit goods is worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year, the OECD said. Brands from the US, Italy, and France are among the most targeted by counterfeiters.

“Italy produces high value products and benefits significantly from its IP and trademarks”, but this makes Italian brands “particularly susceptible to the damaging effects of counterfeiting and piracy”, the report claimed.

In 2003, Italy implemented sanctions against the use of ‘made in Italy’ and other pictures or marks which may falsely lead consumers to infer an Italian origin of a product that is not Italian, as outlined by Mauro Bronzini of Bugnion. Olive oil is reportedly one of the most counterfeited Italian food products, according to Elisabetta Guolo and Andrea Cappai of Bugnion.

The sale of fake goods is also causing problems for businesses in many other countries.

Hong Kong customs recently seized more than HK$15 million (US $1.9 million) worth of counterfeit FIFA World Cup products at the border.

In the US, nearly 79,000 counterfeit items were seized last month in Texas by Homeland Security Investigations. The goods included counterfeit apparel and consumer electronics, which featured trademarks from brands such as Hermes, Adidas, Apple, and Sony.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Today's top stories

EU court issues Norwegian Cruise Line decision

Bose patent complaint triggers USITC investigation

US judge dismisses fracking trade secrets suit

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

15 June 2018   Hong Kong customs has seized more than HK$15 million worth of counterfeit FIFA World Cup products in less than two months.
23 May 2018   The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit has seized nearly 79,000 counterfeit items in Laredo, Texas.