Responding to concerns in governments and the business community, the OECD launched a project in 2005 to assess the magnitude and impact of counterfeiting and piracy. The objective of the project was to improve factual understanding and awareness of how large the problem is and the effects that infringements of intellectual property rights have on governments, business and consumers in member countries and non-member economies.
The project covered infringements of the intellectual property rights that are described and defined in the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In addition to assessing economic effects, the project analysed rising concerns over the health, safety and security threats that counterfeit and pirated products pose to consumers. It also reviewed trends and developments and assessed what was being done to combat the illicit practices.
Phase I focused on tangible counterfeit and pirated products (i.e. physical products that infringe trademarks or copyrights), and to a lesser extent infringements of patents and design rights. The Phase I final report, The Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy, was published in June 2008. An update on the magnitude of counterfeiting and piracy of tangible products was produced in November 2009.
The Phase II final report, Piracy of Digital Content, was published in July 2009.
The project was conducted in co-operation with international organisations that are active in the counterfeiting/piracy area, including the World Trade Organization, the World Customs Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, Interpol and relevant NGOs. Liaison with the business community and labour was co-ordinated through the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD.
This work expanded considerably on a related project on the economic impact of counterfeiting that was carried out in 1998.