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News article14 December 2022European Anti-Fraud Office

Combatting a growing global threat - Counterfeit Semiconductor Products


The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) organised a two-day conference to discuss current trends and challenges of fraud related to intellectual property rights (IPR) and counterfeiting. The conference, held in Alicante, Spain on 13-14 December 2022, brought together around fifty representatives from national law enforcement authorities and the industry operating in EU Member States, the United States and Japan.

The conference provided a platform for all stakeholders to exchange information and good practices on ongoing activities and tools used in the field of IPR crime enforcement, particularly in the area of semiconductors.

A growing global threat

Semiconductors are an increasingly crucial commodity. More than 1 trillion microchips were manufactured around the world in 2021 and the demand is continuously rising. Recent global chip shortages forced factory closures in a range of sectors, from cars to healthcare devices. This has accentuated the extreme global dependency of the semiconductor value chain on a very limited number of actors in a complex geopolitical context. 

Considering the vitality of semiconductors for cars, trains, planes, defence and communication infrastructure systems, it is easy to imagine that counterfeit semiconductors can potentially cause an enormous damage, not just to consumer health and safety, but potentially to national security and society at large. The EU has just recently taken a further step towards a European ‘Chips Act’.

In accordance with renewed calls for action in the international context and from the industry, OLAF is focusing on enforcement initiatives related to semiconductor counterfeiting and fraudulent activity. OLAF maintains contact with Member States and third-country enforcement authorities, as well as industry stakeholders to address illicit trade trends. Moreover, OLAF follows-up on specific reports of entries into the EU of semiconductors allegedly infringing IP rights and/or presenting a threat to public health and safety.

This joint OLAF-EUIPO conference provided an excellent opportunity for participants to take stock of the current situation and to discuss how to intensify cooperation against IPR fraud in the sector of semiconductors with all stakeholders.


The conference formed part of the commitment of EUIPO and OLAF to collaborate closely in the area of knowledge building and training activities in the framework of the Service Level Agreement that was concluded between the two institutions in 2022. 



Publication date
14 December 2022
European Anti-Fraud Office
News type
OLAF news article