European Commission launches Piracy Watch-List to crack down on sales of fake cosmetics

The European Commission has announced that it will publish a Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List this year which will name and shame marketplaces that sell fake goods, including cosmetics.

The list, based on input from stakeholders and after verification of information received, will identify online and physical marketplaces outside of the EU where counterfeiting and other forms of intellectual property (IP) abuse are common, to help minimise financial losses from smugglers and pirates. 

The Commission said: “The list will identify and describe the most problematic market places – with a special focus on online marketplaces – in order to encourage their operators and owners, as well as the responsible local authorities and governments, to take the necessary actions and measures to reduce the availability of IPR fringing goods or services.”

It will also be urging these marketplaces to adopt business models that rely on the licensed distribution of legitimate content and products, and to work with right holders and enforcement officials to address infringements.

Fake product sales are an issue which has long plagued the beauty industry – with social media platforms Instagram, Facebook and eBay now contributing to more than 50% of black market cosmetics sales, according to research by copyright protection firm Red Points.

Meanwhile, a study by Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office estimated that €9.5 billion is lost annually to legitimate EU goods traders in sales of legitimate cosmetic products, resulting in the loss of approximately 80,000 jobs.

The Commission is requesting written contributions from stakeholders identifying marketplaces that should be included in the Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List for 2018. The list will be updated regularly.