Counterfeiting & Seizures

Counterfeit toys worth millions seized

With Europol’s Operation Ludus III, national authorities seized counterfeit and illegal toys valued at around 80 million euros. This is by far the highest value seized so far in the course of Europol’s Ludus operations.

Operation Ludus III is the third time Europol has coordinated an operation against the trade in counterfeit and illegal toys. Between October 2022 and February 2023, authorities from 29 countries1 seized nearly 20 million packages of illegal toys worth close to 80 million euros, as officials recently released. This represents an approximately fourfold increase in the value of seized toys compared to the previous year’s operation.

The seized products included, for example, building bricks, board and card games, dolls, plush toys, costumes, and videogames, often from well-known brands. Officials also found numerous products of characters from well-known animated movies and cartoon series. In total, officers conducted more than 6,000 inspections as part of Ludus III and reported approximately 200 individuals to judicial authorities and nearly 300 individuals to administrative or health authorities, respectively.

Operation Ludus III was supported by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), among others. In addition to supporting checks of customs documentation and data analysis, OLAF also coordinated a large-scale operation in the fall of 2022. The OLAF-coordinated action, which took place from September to November 2022, resulted in the seizure of approximately 420,000 toys with a total estimated value of about 1.7 million euros. In addition, OLAF participated in successful raids in the Warsaw region together with Polish Tax and Customs authorities.

Along with OLAF and local authorities, the actions of Operation Ludus III were also supported by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).


1 Participating countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand, Togo, United Kingdom.


Sources: EuropolOLAF

Article in cooperation with the Anti-Piracy Analyst

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