EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Enforcing intellectual property rights: EU action plan

Enforcing intellectual property rights: EU action plan

This European Commission communication emphasises the important role intellectual property rights (IPRs) play in driving economic growth and innovation in the European Union and sets out a 10-point action plan to protect and enforce these rights against commercial-scale violations.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee: Towards a renewed consensus on the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: An EU Action Plan (COM(2014) 392 final of 1 July 2014).

SUMMARY

This European Commission communication emphasises the important role intellectual property rights (IPRs) play in driving economic growth and innovation in the European Union and sets out a 10-point action plan to protect and enforce these rights against commercial-scale violations.

KEY POINTS

The plan, which is being overwhelmingly implemented by the European Commission in partnership with the European Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, involves:

targeted communication campaigns to raise awareness among the public, especially the young, of the damage caused by fake goods and services;

consulting with different groups to emphasise the need to apply due diligence throughout supply chains;

agreements between rights-holders and their business partners, such as advertisers, payment services and shippers, designed to reduce profits from rights violations;

measures to improve civil enforcement procedures for small businesses;

publishing a consultative Green Paper on the possible wider use of chargeback systems whereby consumers do not need to pay for purchases on debit or credit cards if they find the items are not genuine;

establishing a group of experts from EU countries to exchange best practices;

publishing a guide for public authorities to avoid purchasing counterfeit products; and

developing specific training programmes for rights enforcement.

BACKGROUND

Intellectual property rights reward companies, creators and inventors for the investment they make in knowledge by protecting their products and services from unscrupulous competitors. As such, they are a guarantee of quality and a key factor in ensuring the EU’s long-term competitiveness.

It is estimated that the sectors that make intensive use of intellectual property rights account for almost 40 % of the EU’s gross domestic product - worth some €4.7 trillion a year - and up to 35 % of all jobs.

However, these rights are not always respected. In 2012, the EU detained at its borders almost 40 million fake articles. The estimated value of the equivalent genuine items was just below €1 billion.

For more information: see the European Commission’s web page and press release on the action plan. A citizens’ summary is also available.

last update 10.09.2015

Top