Authorities dismantled a criminal organization that allegedly traded hundreds of kilos of fake saffron worth millions of euros. The counterfeiters reportedly laundered their profits through complex financial transactions across the EU.
In 2020, French customs seized around 20 percent more counterfeit items compared to the previous year. This sharp increase of around 1.1 million additional counterfeits confiscated also results from a rapid growth in certain product categories.
Author: Sabine Carrell, International Communications Manager at tesa scribos
Customs officials in France seized around 5.6 million counterfeit items in 2020, as the French Customs statistics for 2020 shows. This is a substantial increase of around 20 percent compared to the previous year. Overall, French customs confiscated around 1.1 million more counterfeit items than in 2019.
This massive rise, from around 4.5 million counterfeits seized in 2019 to around 5.6 million counterfeits seized in 2020, is also partly due to increased seizures of counterfeit medicines and protective masks, according to official information. Customs‘ actions, for example, resulted in more than 11.7 million non-compliant masks and more than 270,000 counterfeit masks being removed from the market, according to a statement from French authorities.
Counterfeit clothing, footwear, and accessories were seized particularly often, with around 798,000 items, according to customs statistics. Officials in Saint-Étienne, in the southeast of France, for example confiscated about 12 tons of clothing, leather goods, and shoes infringing the rights of more than 23 trademark owners; the value of the original versions of the fakes is estimated at about 17 million euros. Also frequently seized were counterfeit toys (about 473,000 fake items), counterfeit electronics (about 172,000 fake items), and counterfeit medicines (about 129,000 fake items).
In addition, French Customs states to have stepped up its actions on the Internet via specifically developed services, to take more vigorous action against criminal organizations on the Darknet. It is supported in this fight against counterfeiting by the trade association Unifab (L’Union des Fabricants), the French anti-counterfeiting committee CNAC (Comité national anti-contrefaçons), and the French intellectual property institute INPI (Institut national de la propriété industrielle).
Direction générale des douanes et droits indirects, Ministère de l'Action et des Comptes publics
Article produced in cooperation with Anti-Piracy Analyst, June 2021 issue