Today marks World Anti-Counterfeiting Day. Fake and copy-cat toys are not only a challenge for the reputable toy sector, but can endanger children’s safety. In the fight against counterfeiters, strong, smart and effective market surveillance is essential. It protects companies who play by the rules and keeps fake toys away from playtime.
The EU toy sector lost around 10% of annual sales to counterfeits between 2012-2015, according to an EUIPO report released this week. But it is about more than sales. Counterfeiters freeride on the time and resources reputable companies invest in innovation. If an operator is willing to profit by stealing ideas, it’s highly likely that they will cut corners when it comes to making sure the toys they put on the market meet the EU’s strict safety standards.
The best way to tackle the threat posed by rogue traders to children’s safety is through smart and effective market surveillance. The European Commission’s proposed Goods Package offers an excellent opportunity to reinforce EU market surveillance, and we hope the European Parliament takes up the challenge to improve upon it further as it discusses the proposal. Optimising coordination of enforcement activities within the EU and recognising reputable players as partners would help to underpin a more intelligent market surveillance system and help to keep unsafe toys out of children’s hands.