Trade in counterfeit goods is a longstanding -- and growing -- worldwide socio-economic risk that threatens effective public governance, efficient business, and the well-being of consumers.

One of the areas that have garnered increased attention in recent years has been the use by counterfeiters and other illicit traders of e-commerce to cloak their activities. Trading platforms such as Amazon, eBay have been instrumental in promoting growth in e-commerce, but they can also be abused by illicit trade networks. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these problems, as people turn to e-commerce during lockdowns and shop closures. Governments and industries have recognised these problems and are addressing them in various ways, including by providing more transparency, streamlining procedures, and facilitating co-operation among e-commerce platforms, right holders and governments.

This study provides an overview of these government- and industry-specific measures to address the abuse of online platforms by counterfeiters. Given the global and borderless nature of e-commerce, such information is crucially needed, not only to better understand this threat and different approaches for tackling it, but also for co-ordinating effective governance responses.

This study was carried out under the auspices of the OECD’s Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, which focuses on evidence-based research and advanced analytics to assist policy makers in mapping and understanding the vulnerabilities exploited by illicit trade.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2021

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at