Industry and globalisation

OECD project on counterfeiting and piracy


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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.


Latest updates:

  • Phase III of this project is on indefinite hold.


What did the project cover?

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 reviews trends and developments and assesses what is being done to combat the illicit practices. 


How was the project structured?

The project was designed with three separate phases.

Phase I focuses 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. This phase has been completed. The final report was published in June 2008. A November 2009 update on the magnitude of counterfeiting and piracy of tangible products is also available. 

Phase II focused on piracy of digital content. The final report was published in July 2009

Phase III was intended to address infringements of other intellectual property rights. However, this phase has been placed on indefinite hold due to the need to revise some scoping issues with respect to the remaining rights. If a decision is made to resume Phase III, notice will be available on this page.


Who did the OECD work with?

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.


Earlier work

This study expanded considerably on a related project on the economic impact of counterfeiting that was carried out in 1998.



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