Croatia Fights Counterfeiting

Jan 20 2011 - 10:38

According to the recent data presented by the Croatian Customs Administration, almost 1.3 million counterfeit items were seized and more than 500,000 counterfeit items, valued at almost EUR 14 million (USD 18 million), destroyed in 2009 in Croatia.

In the first six months of 2010, the customs authorities seized nearly 540,000 items believed to be counterfeit and destroyed goods worth nearly EUR 11 million (USD 14 million). The seized goods included 251,486 pairs of footwear, 43,503 perfumes and cosmetic products, 3,047 pieces of electronic and computer equipment and 10,486 toys and sports equipment. In 2009, 16,096 fake drugs were seized and in the first half of 2010 — 12,594.

Despite the constant seizures of fake goods, Croatia is still flooded with counterfeit products. According to estimates, half of all the goods seized emerge on either the Croatian market or the markets of other countries in the Balkan region, mostly Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

According to the customs representatives, the goods suspected of being counterfeit are released when the trademark owner is not interested in them, does not have enough time to obtain documentation necessary for initiating customs proceedings or deems it less damaging to release the goods rather than have them stored and later destroyed. Many brands do not obtain legal protection in Croatia, because the trademark holders consider the market too small to spend time and effort enforcing their intellectual property rights.

In 2009, the Croatian State Inspectorate ran 2271 inspections of various sales outlets and found counterfeit items on 224 occasions. The seized goods mostly included counterfeit textile products, footwear, leather goods, watches and sunglasses. In the first half of 2010, there were 1453 inspections that resulted in the filing of 169 misdemeanor charges for selling counterfeits.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a nonprofit trade association representing some of the world’s leading software makers such as Adobe Systems, Apple Inc., Dell, IBM and Microsoft, has recently participated in an anti-counterfeiting event, organized by the Croatian Customs Administration. The event took place on December 17 and 18, 2010 at two shopping centers in Croatia’s capital Zagreb, where the public was informed about the risks of purchasing counterfeit goods and how to spot fake products.

The BSA members presented counterfeit copies of computer programs along with the original products, thus allowing consumers the opportunity to detect differences in the products. Various kinds of counterfeit goods such as watches, mobile phones, clothes and perfumes were displayed on the stalls and they attracted attention of consumers. The organizers estimated that several thousand people participated in the event.

For more information, please contact Dalibor Radovic at our Croatia office.

Source: Croatian Customs Administration

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