Following the European Commission’s adoption of a new Intellectual Property (IP) Action Plan, the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) would like to reiterate its ambitions for a well-calibrated EU IP framework responding to today’s challenges.
“FESI fully supports the Commission’s proposed actions to ensure a better enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) and the strong attention it gives to the fight against counterfeiting.”, commented Neil Narriman, FESI President and Puma General Counsel of IP. “However, such measures must be accompanied by clear obligations for intermediaries who facilitate the dissemination and sale of counterfeit goods. We hope that the future DSA will create a true due diligence principle with mandatory preventive and proactive measures to combat the proliferation of IPR infringing products online”, he added.
FESI welcomes the establishment of a new EU Toolbox against counterfeiting as announced in the Action Plan. While the proposed measures are certainly a good first step, most of them rely on voluntary action, which we doubt will be sufficient to stop the proliferation of IPR infringing products. The Commission’s recent annual report on the state of intellectual property in third countries shows that China continues to be the most problematic country for European right holders. More needs to be done on the international scene to ensure a global fair play.
In addition to economic damage, counterfeiting also causes serious social and environmental damage. This new action plan addresses for the first time the environmental aspect in the counterfeiting debate. Indeed, products infringing intellectual property very often also breach product manufacturing standards and thus use materials and processes that can be harmful to the environment.
“Once seized, counterfeit goods must also be destroyed. The disposal of counterfeit products containing toxic elements can then be extremely dangerous for the environment and health. In this respect, it is essential to raise awareness of this issue by defining a conducive legal and regulatory framework to pave the way for greater cooperation between countries”, commented Jérôme Pero, FESI Secretary General.
The sporting goods industry is one of the sectors most constantly and increasingly subject to infringements of its intellectual property rights. In fact, counterfeiting costs our industry 7.7% of sales annually, which translates into EUR 1.1 billion of revenue, 6 579 direct and indirect jobs losses, and EUR 0.2 billion in government revenue.