December 11, 2017
The European Commission published its Communication on measures to ensure better protection of IP rights. The Commission said that the package of measures 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 package included new guidance on the application of the IP Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC).
ICMP has now published its response, saying that while it sees the package as “a step in the right direction”, given that it aims to assist Member States in their interpretation of the Directive while providing legal clarity, the ICMP is “nevertheless disappointed as it falls short of a legislative overhaul”.
In the ICMP’s view: “Soft law is certainly not enough for rightsholders to take effective action against theft.”
ICMP says that crucial IP enforcement issues require “concrete legislation”, offering a legal framework that is fit and proper for the digital age, notably by ensuring efficient injunctions and appropriate damages for rights holders.
ICMP says that it will therefore continue its efforts in this regard, while working closely with Member States to “ensure the robust and consistent implementation of existing enforcement rules.”
The ICMP, together with other stakeholders, has sent a letter to the President of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, raising its concerns about the latest legislative solutions.
The letter explains that market analyses of Europe’s music industry show that more than 11.1 billion music tracks were downloaded via pirate methods in 2016, which stands in stark comparison to the 1.1 billion tracks bought and downloaded legally in the same year.
While the signatories understand that the European Commission recommendations on the IPR Enforcement Directive would be a step forward, the letter states that the main enforcement issues “cannot be solved without legislation.”
The letter calls for “enforcement measures that would apply across borders and therefore simplify and expedite court procedures across Europe.” Injunctions are a good example, the letter continues, stating that, “changes are needed to ensure that injunctions are sufficiently flexible to remain effective over time and available on an expedited basis. They should also cover the entire catalogue provided by right holders.”
Overall, the letter calls on the Commission to “continue to put pressure on Member States to implement the existing enforcement legislation, but also emphasise how essential it is that the Commission fulfils the objectives set out in the Digital Single Market Strategy by revising Europe’s IPR enforcement framework for the digital age.” To read the ICMP’s press release in full and for a link to the letter, click here.