Bogus items seized up by 50% in 12 months

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POLICE and the Guardia Civil seized 9 million counterfeit products valued at more than €694 million last year.

This is 50 per cent more than in 2010 when they impounded pirated goods worth €461 million.

Almost 68 per cent of both forces’ 2011 operations centred on articles breaching trademark regulations, according to an Interior ministry report.

The remainder affected intellectual property rights although the ministry did not quote financial losses arising from illegal internet downloads.

Copyright infringements produced considerable losses with a knock-on effect on jobs and profits in a sector responsible for approximately 4 per cent of Spain’s gross domestic product, the ministry said.

The audiovisual sectors suffered the greatest number of rip-off items with CDs, DVDs and computer games accounting for just over 28 per cent of the total.

They were followed by electrical goods and machinery (21.3 per cent) and toys (7.8 per cent).

Unauthorised copies of toys are particularly dangerous, police point out, as they can endanger the health and safety of the children they are destined for.

More antipiracy operations and confiscations of phoney goods were carried out in Andalucia, Madrid and Cataluna last year than any other autonomous region.

There was a notable descent in bogus clothing and leather goods, particularly handbags, with fake designer logos or labels.

Arrests and indictments fell by 31.1 per cent overall, but although 9.5 per cent fewer items were impounded, their value increased by 50.5 per cent.

Technological advances and changing tastes meant fewer arrests, police sources explained, as consumers now prefer internet downloads to CDs and DVDs.

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