IP Outreach Research > IP Crime


Title: Studie des DIHK und des APM zu Produkt- und Markenpiraterie in China
Author: [Aktionskreis gegen Produkt- und Markenpiraterie], [Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag]
Year: 2007


Subject/Type: Counterfeiting
Focus: Aircraft and Auto Parts, Apparel and Shoes, Brands (deceptive counterfeits), Brands (non-deceptive counterfeits), Consumer Electronics / Electronic Equipment, Food Products, Mechanical / Electrical Engineering, Medicines and Medical Devices
Country/Territory: China, Germany
Objective: To assess the extent to which the German economy is affected by Chinese product and trademark piracy, and to analyse possible causes and countermeasures.
Sample: 600+ Germany-based companies doing business with/in China
Methodology: Survey

Main Findings

Every industry is found to be affected by Chinese counterfeiting, especially industries where technology and innovation play a crucial role (environmental engineering, automobile industry, building industry, and mechanical engineering). Counterfeits are also prevalent in the consumer goods sector.

The risk of being affected by counterfeiting is greater for companies having an on-the-ground presence in China (almost 50% of surveyed companies with an in-situ presence in China stated that they were affected by counterfeiting). However, slightly more than 20% of companies without active presence reported that their products were being counterfeited in China. Avoiding the Chinese market cannot thus offer any real protection from fakes.

Businesses reportedly not affected by counterfeiting tend not to register their intellectual property rights (IPR): 79% of them reported that they had not registered their IP (only 21% stated that they had done so). Just 4% of those not registering their IP employ IP protection strategies other than IPR registration.

By contrast, 48% of businesses affected by counterfeiting reported registering their IPR (52% reportedly did not). The bigger a company the more likely it is to have its IPR registered: while just one in four companies with fewer than 500 employees had their IP registered, two thirds of businesses with 500-1000 or 1000+ employees had their IP registered in China.

Measures taken in response to IPR violations vary by firm size: firms with 1000+ employees rely on private investigators and lawyers, or apply for export controls with Chinese customs. Firms with 500-1000 employees contract lawyers or private investigators, and negotiate with the violator. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees mainly contract lawyers and negotiate with infringers.

The survey authors recommend that awareness raising measures be taken so that businesses register their IP assets, especially smaller ones. Otherwise, they will not be able to effectively respond to infringements. They need to realise that although registering IP assets has an immediate cost, possible losses due to counterfeiting can be much higher, even ruinous.

[Date Added: Nov 20, 2008 ]