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Swedish furniture industry threatened by counterfeits

According to a new report from the Network for Modern Intellectual Property Rights, 77,600 jobs are at risk of being displaced from Sweden, with Swedish production decreasing by 89 billion due to piracy - illegal infringement of intellectual property rights. The Swedish furniture industry is heavily affected.

This is stated in the report "Intellectual Property, Jobs & Prosperity in the Nordic Region 2024 Index," released by the Network for Modern Intellectual Property Rights coordinated by the Rights Alliance. At the end of last week, Cecilia Ask Engström, the industry and business policy manager of the Wood and Furniture Companies, participated in a parliamentary seminar on the issue.

Photo © Anutr Yossundara |

'It is a significant problem for design products and something we continuously work on. The process of designing furniture that is stylish and meets the circularity requirements requires time and resources from our member companies, and it doesn't take long before the design is stolen and the counterfeits are manufactured in an Asian factory,' says Cecilia Ask Engström.

The accompanying risks include the manufacturing of furniture from materials that do not meet the requirements of EU furniture manufacturers. It is also a severe blow to an industry that exports such a large part of its production. Bringing legal action against illegal actors is time-consuming and costly. Therefore, many companies choose to bear the financial cost. The report shows that 85 percent of furniture companies have experienced or suspected piracy of their products, but only 15 percent of these have chosen to pursue the matter. Among those who have tried to pursue the matter further, there is significant doubt about whether they would do so again.

'Standing up and protecting one's rights is difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises, often ending up on the CEO's desk. It involves long and time-consuming processes with uncertain outcomes,' she continues.

Last week's meeting brought together several industries to discuss the issue with representatives from the parliamentary Committee on Industry. There, the Swedish industry organisation TMF was given the opportunity to provide an overview and give feedback on the government's strategy for handling the issue. Like TMF, the report concludes that political reforms are necessary to address the situation, including the demand for a national intellectual property rights strategy and the incorporation of AI with respect for intellectual property rights issues.

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