Around 70 representatives from customs, police and market surveillance authorities from EU Member States and selected third countries, EU and international public bodies as well as right holders and associations from the wine and spirits’ industry met in Alicante, Spain, on 16-17 June to exchange views and discuss current trends and challenges of fraud related to intellectual property rights (IPR) and counterfeiting. This two-day conference on combatting IPR fraud in the wine and spirits’ sector was organized jointly by OLAF and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
The conference provided a platform for all stakeholders to exchange information on ongoing activities and tools and to share good practices in the field of IPR crime enforcement in the wine and spirits’ sector.
Protecting consumers’ health
Counterfeit alcoholic beverages have been and continue to be prominently ranked amongst OLAF´s IPR investigation activities. Counterfeit alcoholic beverages do not only severely harm the economy. More importantly, they also put consumers´ safety and health at risk.
Over the last years, OLAF worked intensely on cases targeting counterfeit wine, sparkling wine, whiskey and vodka. The exchange of intelligence and actions taken by OLAF in coordination with national authorities from the EU Member States and third countries led to many results, including the following:
- 421 000 bottles of counterfeit wine of several brands seized in the EU and Moldova;
- 339 696 bottles of counterfeit rum seized in the EU and Honduras (estimated value of € 4.5 million) and one illegal factory dismantled in Honduras;
- 576 litres of counterfeit Prosecco seized in the EU.
The conference was a good opportunity to take stock of the current situation and discuss with all stakeholders involved how the cooperation in the common fight against IPR fraud in the sector of wine and spirits can be intensified in the future.
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 recently concluded Service Level Agreement between the two institutions.
- Publication date
- 17 June 2022
- European Anti-Fraud Office
- News type
- OLAF news article