This week, the European Commission endorsed measures aimed at reinforcing intellectual property rights protection, particularly focusing on commercial-scale infringement activities, treating them as “the most harmful.” The strategy outlines steps to better safeguard intellectual property both within the European Union (EU) market and in third countries, the Commission said in a press release.
The steps set out in the EU Action Plan will see authorities work towards depriving infringers of their revenue streams, rather than punishing individuals for violating IP rights. The latter often happens unintentionally, the EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, said in the statement.
The plan establishes 10 actions, to be introduced in 2014 and 2015 that will involve all stakeholders. In the EU, the Commission says it will seek to foster collaboration with advertising agencies, payment services providers, and shippers, with the goal of slashing proceeds generated from commercial-scale infringements taking place on the Internet. It will also work towards promoting due diligence practices among sectors that produce goods with a high degree of IP and also take measures to assist small businesses in enforcing their IP rights in a more effective manner by improving court procedures. The Commission also stated that it plans to launch a training program for authorities to help them better address IP infringement issues.
In order to guarantee the adequate protection of companies’ IP rights in third countries, the Commission says it will aim to ensure that bilateral agreements provide robust protection for holders. It plans to collaborate with third countries to tackle IP issues and carry out regular surveys to prepare a list of “priority countries” for focused EU efforts.
According to recent estimates, IP rights-intensive industries contribute about 39% to the EU’s GDP and account for 35% of employment.