23 | 09 | 2019

Report on the liability and obligations of intermediary service providers in the European Union


Source: EUIPO

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) published a report dealing with issues of determining liability of online service providers for intellectual property rights infringement committed by third parties who use their services. Namely, with an increase of electronic commerce and the very role of online service providers in online transactions, EUIPO started studying the possible role of these business entities in the enforcement of intellectual property rights, resulting in this report as well.

Online service providers enable cooperation, connection and digital transactions among customers on the Internet, providing them thereby with a broad range of services (by giving access to, hosting, transmitting or indexing content, products or services offered by third parties) or providing other internet-based services to customers. Taking the statistics from Eurostat into consideration, showing that during 2017, 42% of large enterprises in the EU, 28% of medium-sized enterprises and 17% of small enterprises engaged in e-sales, the significance and the role of online service providers in the development of modern business and commerce can be clearly discerned. However, in addition to legitimate transactions online, we are faced with some websites or online marketplaces being used to sell counterfeit goods or as the source of illegal download of music, films, video games and other protected contents; the services provided by online providers can thus be used by third parties for performing the activities that directly infringe intellectual property rights.

The study presents a legal framework prepared by the European Union to regulate liability of online service providers, supplemented by national law of the European Union Member States. Furthermore, the study includes an overview of decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union and of judgements from courts in 14 European Union Member States delivered in relation to determining online intellectual property rights infringements, in the period from 2016 to 2019.

The report was published under the original title of IPR Enforcement Case-Law Collection - The liability and obligations of intermediary service providers in the European Union and it can be accessed here.

 

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