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.

Trade in counterfeit products is a major challenge that poses a threat to Swiss rights holders, the Swiss government and society as a whole. With the objective of providing policy makers with empirical evidence to enable them to take action against this threat, this OECD report gauges the impact of the global trade in fake “Swiss made” products on the Swiss government and Swiss industry. Furthermore, it includes an in-depth analysis in four sectors: watchmaking, electrical and mechanical engineering, the fast-moving consumer goods industry, and pharmaceuticals.

The findings of the analysis are concerning. In 2018, global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods infringing Swiss IPRs decreased lawful rights holders’ sales by at least CHF 4.45 billion (USD 4.48 billion), or 1.5% of Swiss exports. In addition, it reduced the tax revenue to the Swiss government by CHF 157.5 million (USD 158.4 million), equivalent to almost 0.2% of tax revenue collected. It also led to the loss of more than ten thousand jobs, representing 1.7% of all Swiss manufacturing jobs. These findings demonstrate that coordinated measures are required at international level in order to combat IP crime and counterfeit trade.

This report aims to provide important insights into the risk that counterfeiting poses to the world economy and to assist policy makers in finding optimal solutions to respond to the threat.



Catherine Chammartin,

Director General,

Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property



Elsa Pilichowski,


OECD Public Governance

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