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News article17 May 2023BrusselsDirectorate-General for Trade

Commission releases its Report on Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries

The European Commission published today its biennial Report on the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in third countries. 

The Third Country Report identifies so-called ‘priority countries’ in which the state of IPR protection and enforcement is a source of major concern.

Based on these findings, the Commission will focus its efforts and resources on the specific areas of concern in these countries, with the aim of improving IPR protection and enforcement worldwide. As this latest report shows, China remains the top priority country for the EU, while India and Türkiye remain priority 2 countries. Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Thailand remain priority 3 countries.

Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said: “A robust intellectual property system supports innovation and is a key driver of the EU’s competitiveness and the protection of our strategic interests. When intellectual property systems across the world fall short, it harms European businesses. Counterfeiting and piracy hurt our economy and can expose our citizens to unsafe products. Forced technology transfer slows down our economic development and can be a menace to our security. This is why the Commission is taking broader steps to protect European companies when trading outside the EU’s borders, keep EU consumers safe and promote EU’s contribution to innovation and innovative manufacturing.”

The report will also enable rights holders, in particular small and medium-sized businesses, to gain awareness of potential risks to their IP when engaging in business activities in the priority countries. It is also a useful source of information for authorities in third countries. 

The Third Country Report is part of the European Commission's efforts to strengthen the protection and enforcement of IPR in third countries. It is based on a targeted consultation, as well as on other sources listed in the report.

Illicit trade in fakes remains a serious risk to modern, open and globalised economies. According to a joint study prepared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Office (EUIPO) on Global Trade in Fakes (June 2021), counterfeit and pirated goods accounted for up to 2.5% of world trade in 2019, and for up to €119 billion or 5.8% of EU imports.

Beyond these challenges, the report also points at deficiencies related to: forced technology transfer; low levels of protection of trade secrets; backlogs in patent and trademark registrations; restrictive patentability criteria; concerns on regulatory data; ineffective collective rights management; and deficiencies in the protection of plant varieties and geographical indications.

For more information

Report on the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in third countries


Publication date
17 May 2023
Directorate-General for Trade
Trade topics
Enforcement and protectionGeographical IndicationsIntellectual property