15 | 12 | 2017

European Commission Presented a New Package of Measures to Strengthen the Protection and the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

Illustration: Approved by the European Commission

On 29 November 2017, the European Commission presented a comprehensive package of measures for further improvement of the protection and the enforcement of intellectual property rights given in the following documents:

  • a Communication on a Balanced IP Enforcement System Responding to Today’s Societal Challenges,
  • a Communication providing guidance on how to apply the Directive on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (hereinafter: IPRED), accompanied by a Staff Working Document with an evaluation of IPRED,
  • a Staff Working Document on the evaluation of the Memorandum of Understanding on the sale of counterfeit goods via the Internet,
  • a Communication on Standard Essential Patents.

This package of measures is intended to encourage European companies to invest in innovation and creativity. The data show that actually 5% of goods imported into the European Union are counterfeited or pirated. Therefore, emphasis is placed on the need to act more efficiently against infringements of intellectual property rights, especially the ones committed on a commercial scale. The IPRED evaluation resulted in the conclusion that the measures set out in this Directive are still appropriate and purposeful, but that it is necessary to eliminate differences between interpretations and applications of IPRED among EU Member States. Hence, the European Commission issued a separate Communication with guidelines on the interpretation and application of the measures, procedures and remedies provided for by IPRED, based on judicial practice of the Court of Justice of the European Union and best practice available in this field. It is also important to boost the specialisation of judges who work on cases from the field of intellectual property, to have them permanently educated and to develop best court practice as well as transparency in courts’ work. This is why the European Commission called on Member States to systematically publish judgements rendered in IP enforcement cases, and in particular decisions by courts of appeal and higher courts. In addition, the Commission encourages further development of alternative dispute resolution tools, within mechanisms of mediation and arbitration.

The Commission encourages all stakeholders, public and private ones, to jointly combat IP infringements. Building on the positive experiences under the Memorandum of Understanding on the sale of counterfeit goods via the internet, the new Memorandum of Understanding will be prepared to prevent advertising on websites that infringe intellectual property rights, and in order to protect supply chains from counterfeit goods reaching the market, the Memorandum of Understanding on transport and shipping will also be prepared. The Commission invites industry to undertake the necessary due diligence steps in its business in order to combat IPR infringements. On the other side, emphasis is placed on the need to further strengthen cooperation between responsible state institutions and to build public awareness of the role and significance of intellectual property for economic development and of negative consequences resulting from infringements of intellectual property rights.

The Commission published the Communication related to the creation of a fair and balanced system for standard essential patents, intended to facilitate the introduction of new technologies as the basis of digital single market. Product manufacturers need to have easy access to new technologies under transparent and predictable licensing rules, and patent-holders are to be adequately rewarded for their investments in research and development of their best technologies.

For more information on measures, guidelines and proposals of the European Commission contained in this new, comprehensive package of documents, please refer to the following link.

 

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