Counterfeit toys worth over €19 million detained at EU borders

Counterfeit toys with a domestic retail value (had they been genuine) of €19,520,878 were seized by customs at the EU’s external borders in 2012.

Toys (excluding games/electronic games) accounted for 4.10% of all articles (1,637,941) detained in 2012 due to suspected intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement. These figures were published today in the European Commission’s latest Annual Report on EU customs enforcement of IPR.

Unfortunately, these seizures are only the tip of the iceberg. Many counterfeit toys evade detection and enter the EU market. Members of Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) are particularly concerned that counterfeit products can endanger children’s safety. Responsible toy manufacturers are committed to assuring the safety of the toys they produce. However, unethical traders pay little or no attention to safety and do not endeavour to comply with the stringent EU toy safety requirements. Catherine Van Reeth, Director General of TIE, said: ‘Effective market surveillance and well-funded enforcement, with penalties for wilful offenders, are vital to stop such non-conforming toys from reaching children.’

As around 85% of toys imported in the European Union originate in China, it was no surprise that China was the main source (94.31%) of counterfeit toys stopped at the EU’s border in 2012.

For all product categories, the total number of articles detained decreased by 65% year on year to almost 40 million. The retail value of the genuine goods would still have been almost €1 billion.

In order to ensure safe play for children, TIE advises consumers to buy good quality toys from trustworthy shops and websites.

The European Commission’s 2012 Annual Report on EU customs enforcement of intellectual property rights is available here.

A European Commission press release and frequently asked questions document on the publication of the report are also available.