Intellectual property is all around us. But in an increasingly digital and interconnected world, how do citizens react to it? To what degree are intellectual property rights respected, and in what form? The EUIPO tracks this through a series of wide-ranging and in-depth surveys, published at regular intervals, which – taken together – provide a full picture of the evolution of citizen perception of intellectual property rights in the EU.

IP Perception

The more people understand intellectual property, the less likely they are to infringe it, with Europeans now twice as likely to say that intellectual property supports artists and creators than they were three years ago. This shows the importance of raising awareness of the value of intellectual property at citizen level.

Christian Archambeau, Executive Director, EUIPO


2020 Study

25 636 interviews were conducted with EU residents aged 15 and above. The questionnaire was largely similar to the previous study, carried out in 2017, to allow for comparable results. Modifications were integrated into the questionnaire to further explore relationships between perception and behaviour.

General perceptions:

  • The more people understand intellectual property (subjective understanding), the less likely they are to infringe it.
  • 100% increase (from 10% in 2017 to 20% in 2020) of those who think that intellectual property benefits artists and creators, among others.
  • A decrease was noted in intellectual property infringements – from 7% in 2017 to 5% in 2020 for the intentional purchase of counterfeits and from 10% in 2017 to 8% in 2020 for intentional piracy.
  • Young people are more likely to buy counterfeit goods and/or access pirated material. They are also the heaviest internet users of all the groups surveyed.


  • A decrease of 1% from 10% in 2017 to 9% in 2020 of those who were misled into buying counterfeit goods.
  • A decrease of those who wondered whether the product they bought was original or not (from 37% in 2017 to 33% in 2020)
  • An increase from 12% in 2017 to 17% in 2020 of those who think that buying counterfeit products could harm their image.


  • People are more willing to pay for content, with a 69% increase since the last study (from 25% in 2017 to 42% in 2020).
  • People are researching more as to whether websites offer legal content or not (from 14% in 2017 to 20% in 2020).

About the survey

The survey was conducted in the 27 EU Member States, between 1 June and 6 July 2020. The target population included all residents aged 15 and over. In total, 25 636 interviews were conducted across all 27 countries. At least 1 000 interviews were conducted in 24 of the 27 countries surveyed. In Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta, a minimum of 500 respondents were interviewed.

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