EU report confirms toy counterfeiting is not child’s play

20 Aug 2013

Ian Lancaster, IHMA

New statistics revealing the impact of counterfeit toys on the EU have highlighted the threat posed to children’s safety by unscrupulous criminals, says the trade body representing the global hologram industry.


That’s the message from the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), which is urging manufacturers to review and, if necessary, redouble their brand protection and authentication strategies in the light of the European Commission’s new Annual Report on EU customs enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR).


Last year, more than €19.5 m worth of fake toys were seized by customs officers at the EU’s external borders. Toys (excluding games/electronic games) accounted for nearly 5% of the 1, 637,941 items seized in 2012 due to IPR infringements.


Unfortunately, these represent only the tip of the iceberg and, according to the IHMA, many counterfeit toys evade detection on entering the EU with China continuing to be the main source (94.1%) of supply for fake toys entering Europe.


The news follows reports earlier this year in ‘Toy News’ that more than two million counterfeit toys were seized across European countries in 2011.


It is also a sobering reminder that the war on counterfeiting continues unabated, says the IHMA, and is a timely call to those desperate to protect not only brands and profits from the criminals but children who are at risk from products that do not comply with stringent EU toy safety requirements.


“Undoubtedly, the vast majority of responsible toy manufacturers are committed to ensuring their toys are safe for children to play with,” says Ian Lancaster, the IHMA’s General Secretary.


“So, brand owners and those authorities responsible for legislation are sure to be alarmed at these figures. More must be done – and quickly – to deal with the problem and this might include increased integration of holograms as part of brand protection strategies.”


Increasing adoption of holography in places like China and other global counterfeiting hot-spots reinforces the hologram’s position as a pre-eminent security feature in the global anti-counterfeiting fight.


Security holograms on toys will ensure quality and check ensure items not displaying security devices will be seized and destroyed.


“Holography has a key role as a highly effective, highly flexible weapon in the ongoing battle to thwart counterfeiters and fraudsters,” Lancaster said.


“All involved in the supply chain – manufacturers, distributors, consumers, tax authorities – will be reassured by the presence of holograms on products and recognise the benefits they provide.”


The use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated in ISO’s 12931 standard, on authentication solutions, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from the counterfeits coming out of China.


Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.


The International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) – – is made up of 100 of the world’s leading hologram companies. IHMA members are the leading producers and converters of holograms for banknote security, anti-counterfeiting, brand protection, packaging, graphics and other commercial applications around the world. IHMA member companies actively cooperate to maintain the highest professional, security and quality standards.


The EU report can be read in full at:

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