Switzerland Loses Billions Swiss Francs to Counterfeit “Swiss” Products

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Switzerland economy has been significantly damaged through counterfeit products of its products like watches, household appliances and medicines according to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) mandated by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI).

The country has also experienced an estimated 10,000 jobs loss as a result of the counterfeit products, while Swiss companies had been cheated to a tune of around 4.5 billion Swiss francs in 2018.

The most affected industries were watch and jewellery with a loss of 2 billion Swiss francs in turnover. Others include goods from the machinery, electronics and metal industries. The turnover of these industries diminished by around 1.2 billion Swiss francs. Other frequently counterfeited products marked with Swiss label included clothing and shoes. Since the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic and due to the increase in online trade, more counterfeit medicines have been seized.

According to the OECD, the vast majority of Swiss fake products came from China and Hong Kong, followed by Singapore and Turkey. India was also involved in the counterfeiting of medicinal products.

The OECD took into account in the study all counterfeit products seized worldwide that primarily infringed the trade mark rights of Swiss companies. The authors revealed in the study that almost in half of the cases, the consumers consciously bought a counterfeit.

This study has quantified the implications of the global counterfeiting industry for Switzerland for the first time. "The losses are so significant that they require us all to take decisive action," says Anastasia Li-Treyer, Head of Promarca (the Swiss association for brand-name products) and President of the Swiss Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Platform STOP PIRACY on the findings.

The authorities and the business community are already actively involved in the fight against the counterfeiting industry, for example, through campaigns aimed to raise consumer awareness. According to Ms Li-Treyer, the study provides a solid basis for decision-making - together with policy - to disrupt the underhanded practice of counterfeiters in a more targeted manner. To this end, in future, the IPI will advocate even more intensively for minimum standards for the enforcement of intellectual property rights in free trade agreements. The goal is to uncover and stop the activities of counterfeiters where the infringement of rights begins.