February 23, 2022

Result of KIPO's Enforcement Activities on Counterfeit Goods in 2021

- Criminal implication of 557 individuals in trademark infringement and confiscation of 80,000 counterfeit goods -

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced on February 15th, 2022 the result of its efforts to actively respond to trademark infringement and the distribution of counterfeit goods. In 2021, a total of 557 individuals were implicated for trademark infringement and about 80,000 counterfeit goods (genuine product value of KRW 41.5 billion) were confiscated.

Compared to 2020, the number of criminal arrests fell by 9.7% and confiscated goods in 2021 fell by 89.2%, respectively. On the other hand, the total retail value based on its counterpart genuine products increased by 160.1%.

When categorizing the confiscated products by items, watches (wristwatches, etc.) were at the top with the retail value of KRW 20.6 billion in terms of its counterpart genuine product. Accessories (rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.) followed second with KRW 6.3 billion, bags (handbags, pouches, purses and wallets, etc.) was third with KRW 5.5 billion, garments (tops/bottoms, gloves, socks, hats, etc.) came fourth at KRW 4.7 billion, and lastly others items (shoes, glasses, electronic devices, cosmetics, toys, etc.) with KRW 4.5 billion.

Last year, the majority of the confiscated items were related to high-priced foreign luxury brands and even a famous YouTube content maker was controversially found to have worn counterfeit goods. Also, a good amount of counterfeit items were related to household essentials which are in the low and middle-price range but are high demand staples.

Moreover, with the growing coffee market and increasing popularity of golf entertainment content, many sellers and vendors were found to be selling counterfeit product related to these industries (tumblers, mugs, golf balls, etc.) and arrested.

Director Kim Young-bae of the Trademark Special Judicial Police (SJP) said, "As remote transactions increase, counterfeit goods are likely to surge on the online platform." Director Kim further added, "We will strive to establish a fair economic order by redoubling our investigative efforts at the administrative level regarding sellers of counterfeit goods especially related to public safety and health."