The European Union has approved a revision of its trademark legislation, including a provision that allows EU customs to block and destroy counterfeit branded pharmaceutical products, even if they are intended for markets outside the union.
The revision refers to all kinds of counterfeit trademark products that are transiting through the EU territory and acts as an expansion of the law introduced after the Philips/Nokia ruling in 2011, which only allows customs to stop shipments if there is a risk of counterfeit products entering the EU market. The new rule will allow better protection of trademark products and will help ensure that EU consumers are protected against substandard production.
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The move was widely applauded by the EU pharmaceutical industry. The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) issued a statement in which it "saluted" the decision to revise the legislation, effectively preventing the EU from becoming a "hub" for counterfeit goods. The industry group added that the law would not affect the normal trade and distribution of legitimate pharmaceutical products, including distribution and sales of approved generic drugs across the EU.
According to EFPIA, trademark-intensive industries account for more than one in five direct jobs in the EU and more than one-third of the GDP of the union, making it extremely vulnerable to the potential impact of trademark counterfeiting.