Table of Contents

  • Switzerland’s performance in innovation is among the best in the world, driven by strong research-intensive institutions in both the private and public sector. Hereby, intellectual property (IP) plays a key role, as the valuable goods and services produced by this knowledge-based economy benefit considerably from IP protection. As an open economy, Switzerland participates in global markets and is firmly integrated in the world economy. These factors have contributed to the nation’s economic growth and high living standards. At the same time, they can expose Switzerland to the dangers of counterfeiting and piracy.

  • Illicit trade in fake goods is a significant and growing threat in a globalised and innovation-driven economy, undermining good governance, the rule of law and citizens’ trust in government. It not only has a negative impact on the sales and profits of affected firms and on the economy in general, but also poses major health and safety threats to consumers.

  • Global trade in counterfeit goods continues to grow in scope and magnitude, with multiple impacts on consumers, rights holders and governments. For consumers, counterfeiting poses dangers for health and safety. It also lowers consumer satisfaction when low-quality fake goods are unwittingly purchased. For intellectual property rights holders, counterfeiting means lost sales as well as brand erosion. For governments, counterfeiting leads to lower tax revenues and higher unemployment, as well as greater expenses in reacting to public safety threats and dealing with anti-counterfeiting legislation.

  • This first section provides background information on the Swiss economy as well as the main characteristics that make the Swiss economy highly vulnerable to the risk of counterfeiting. Particular attention is then paid to the different datasets used for analytical purposes. Finally, it presents the main steps of the OECD methodology underpinning the report and which allows the assessment of the value of trade in fakes and the economic impacts on sales, jobs and tax revenues.

  • This chapter appraises the damage caused by infringement of Swiss intellectual property rights in world trade. It identifies who suffers in particular from this illicit activity, estimates the scope and volume of such infringements, and presents the top destination and provenance economies for counterfeit goods that infringe Swiss IPR. The focus then shifts to the Swiss products that are most susceptible to counterfeiting. This chapter also pays particular attention to the latest trends in trade in counterfeit goods infringing Swiss IPR related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, the negative effects of IPR infringement on the Swiss economy are estimated in terms of lost sales, lost jobs, and lost government revenue.

  • This chapter explores the trade in counterfeit goods infringing Swiss IPR in-depth for four affected Swiss sectors: watchmaking; mechanical, electrical engineering and metalworking industry; the FMCG sector; and the pharmaceutical industry. It provides an analysis at the industry level highlighting the most affected products, the provenance and destination as well as modes of transport used to send counterfeit goods infringing Swiss IPR. For each sector it also assesses the value of trade in fake Swiss goods and the detrimental impacts in terms of lost sales, lost jobs and tax revenues. 

  • In assessing the global trade in goods that infringe Swiss intellectual property rights (IPRs), this report has shown the heavy impact of this illicit activity on Switzerland. The impact on the country’s manufacturing industry is significant – equivalent to more than 0.7% of Swiss gross domestic product (GDP) and contributing to almost 11 000 lost jobs in 2018 alone, equivalent to 1.7% of all employees in Swiss manufacturing. It is not only industry affected but the impact on the Swiss government in lost revenues is also significant – amounting to almost USD 160 million in 2018.