Customs officials in Austria achieved alarming results in 2022, with around 4,000 seizures in total. This only falls short of the approximately 8,000 seized consignments in 2021. This has now been published with 2022’s customs report on counterfeiting by the Austrian Ministry of Finance (BMF). According to the report, the seizures amount to an estimated value of approximately 6.7 million euros. Compared to the seizure values of 2021 (12 million euro) and 2020 (24 million euro), this number has declined, although the number of intercepted shipments in 2022 is just above the shipments seized in 2020.
In their report, the BMF particularly highlights the development of seized medicines. In addition to the numbers above, almost 12,000 shipments of counterfeit and/or illegal medicines were taken out of circulation – an increase of 150% compared to the medicines seized in 2021. According to the Ministry of Finance, this value is the highest since the EU Regulation on customs enforcement of intellectual property rights in 2014 and Austria’s national counterfeiting law (Produktpirateriegesetz) of 2020 came into force.
In addition to the alarming number of medicines, customs officials in Austria also seized large quantities of counterfeit toys, clothing, sports shoes, as well as components and technical accessories for mobile phones.
Selected seizure results of customs in Austria
according to the Product Piracy Report 2022, BMF Austria
|Nr. of items||Nr. of shipments|
|Components and technical acc. for mobile phones||7.343||22|
For more than 70% of the seized counterfeits, it could not be determined where the products originate from. Most of the counterfeit articles for which information on the countries of origin is available came from the Asian region – 24% of them from China alone. Looking at the respective target markets of counterfeits, 50% of the shipments intercepted in Austria were actually destined for Austria. The second place among the destination countries goes to the Ukraine with 23%. This includes shipments of counterfeits destined for Ukraine that were disguised as aid deliveries for the war torn country.
Austria’s Finance Minister Magnus Brunner emphasises that the results of the 2022 report show how important the work of customs officers is – for example to protect consumers from unregulated medicines, but also for the economy: “The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights are among the most important driving forces of innovation and economic growth – two factors that are essential for our business location, especially in times like these.” This is because IP-intensive industries account for a considerable share of all jobs and the GDP in Austria.