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ECONOMY

Fake Goods a Major Problem in Cyprus

Fake Goods a Major Problem in Cyprus

The latest edition of World Trademark Review’s series on marketplaces that reportedly engage in the trade of counterfeit goods features Cyprus. Moreover, its selection of ‘Five counterfeit hotspots that you must be aware of in Cyprus’ includes all five major towns. The article notes that, earlier this year, a report by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) revealed that the island’s economy loses €180 million annually due to counterfeiting and piracy, at a cost of around 1,400 jobs a year. Going deeper, the report claimed that, in the clothing and footwear sectors, there are losses of around €90 million, or a staggering 17% of total production.

World Trademark Review spoke to representatives of Chrysostomides Law Firm about how rights holders can tackle the problem of counterfeit goods through civil law and/or criminal law proceedings. Eleni Chrysostomides and Alexandros Georgiades explained that there is also an administrative procedure for enforcing IP rights, whereby IP rights holders can register their rights with customs, providing details such as registered IP rights and the country of origin of counterfeits. Once registered and for the duration of the registration, customs will monitor and notify the rightholders of suspect consignments of counterfeit goods, who can in turn take action as per the procedure prescribed in the regulation. Usually in such cases, counterfeiters agree to abandon the counterfeit goods for destruction by customs and there is no need for legal proceedings.

They also note that the customs authorities and the police conduct market operations targeting shops in Cyprus with the purpose of finding, confiscating, and destroying any counterfeit items they may find. Furthermore, the owner of the counterfeit items may be liable in criminal proceedings which are initiated by the police.

In four of the five ‘counterfeit hotspots’ in Cyprus noted by World Trademark Review, the counterfeit risk factor is described as ‘very high’ with only Nicosia’s risk factor described as ‘average’.

Paphos: The article identifies souvenir shops on Apostolou Pavlou Avenue, Poseidonos Avenue, and Tombs of the Kings Road, which are known to be selling fake handbags, sunglasses, perfumes, and accessories from a variety of brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Gucci, Polo Ralph Lauren, Jean Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton, Chloe, and Paul Smith.

Limassol: The ‘most problematic’ streets include Spyrou Araouzou Street, Georgiou A Street, and Amathus Avenue in the tourist area, with fake handbags, sunglasses, perfumes, and accessories by the same brands as in Paphos.

Ayia Napa: The souvenir shops include those on Makariou Avenue, Nisi Avenue and Kryou Nerou Street, with mostly counterfeit fashion-related items, as well as perfumes and accessories on sale. Brands affected include Fendi, Gucci, Jean Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton, Nike and Adidas.

Larnaca: Fake goods more seen primarily in the Phinikoudes beachfront area include handbags, sunglasses, perfume and accessories purporting to be brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Polo Ralph Lauren, etc.

Nicosia: Handbags, sunglasses, perfumes, and accessories are the most commonly-seen fakes in the old part of Nicosia, especially within the walls, including Ippokratous Street, Solonos Street and other areas with souvenir shops.

The World Trademark Review article also notes that, in all towns, the shops dealing in counterfeit goods are likely to warn others whenever there is a police or customs raid.

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