HomeInsightsEuropean Commission publishes Communication on measures to ensure better protection of IP rights

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The Commission says that the new initiatives will “make it easier to act efficiently against breaches of intellectual property rights, facilitate cross-border litigation, and tackle the fact that 5% of goods imported into the EU (worth €85 billion) are counterfeited or pirated.”

The Commission says the new measures will encourage fair and balanced licensing negotiations that reward companies for their innovation while allowing others to build on the technology to generate new innovative products and services.

The measures include:

  • stepping up the fight against counterfeiting and piracy: the Commission seeks to deprive commercial-scale IP infringers of the revenue flows that make their criminal activity lucrative (the so-called “follow the money” approach, which focuses on the “big fish” rather than individuals). It also ensures that enforcement actions are adapted to the requirements of today’s digital age. With the initiatives, the Commission aims to:
    • ensure an equally high level of legal protection and a predictable judicial framework across the EU;
    • encourage industry to fight IP infringements; and
    • reduce the volume of counterfeited products reaching the EU market; and
  • creating a fair and balanced system for Standard Essential Patents: many key technologies that are part of global industry standards (such as WiFi or 4G) are protected by Standard Essential Patents (SEPs). The Commission proposes guidance and recommendations for a balanced and efficient SEPs system where two objectives are reconciled: product manufacturers can access technologies under transparent and predictable licensing rules; and at the same time patent holders are rewarded for their investments in R&D and standardisation activities so that they are incentivised to offer their best technologies for inclusion in standards. The Commission says that more transparency and predictability should give the EU, including its many start-ups, a head start in the global technological innovation race and fully grasp the potential of 5G and the Internet of Things.

The Commission says that it will closely monitor the progress on the proposed measures and assess the need for further steps. To read the Commission’s press release in full and to access all documents setting out the various proposed measures, click here.