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Fighting violations of EU intellectual property rights in non-EU countries

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Fighting violations of EU intellectual property rights in non-EU countries

The communication revises the Commission strategy presented in 2004 for protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights (IPRs) in countries outside the EU. It presents ways this can be improved to take account of the changing environment.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee: Trade, growth and intellectual property - Strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries (COM(2014) 389 final of 1 July 2014).

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE COMMUNICATION DO?

The communication revises the Commission strategy presented in 2004 for protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights (IPRs) in countries outside the EU. It presents ways this can be improved to take account of the changing environment.

KEY POINTS

The communication suggests the following measures:

developing more interaction with public authorities, civil society and others to raise awareness of the impact of intellectual property (IP) violations outside the EU;

improving data collecting and reporting of violations, and identifying priority countries where action is required;

building on existing EU legislation by, for instance, approving the Commission proposal for trade secrets legislation (undisclosed know-how and business information);

encouraging greater cooperation between the Commission and EU countries through information sharing;

continuing efforts to strengthen IP protection in the international arena;

including IP protection in bilateral EU trade agreements, as was recently done with Canada, Georgia Moldova and Singapore;

establishing IP dialogues with key countries, such as those that already exist with Brazil, China and Russia;

providing technical assistance to developing countries wishing to improve their IP systems but lacking the resources to do so;

using the various bilateral and multilateral dispute settlement arrangements to tackle problems; and

helping companies experiencing IP difficulties outside the EU through assistance provided by qualified EU officials or helpdesks.

BACKGROUND

New products and services need to be protected if creativity and innovation are to flourish. IPRs provide this protection. They can also help developing countries to maximise the potential of their own intellectual assets and help them further integrate into international trade.

The scope and nature of IP infringements against European companies have expanded considerably since the 2004 strategy was agreed. Digital technology, in particular, makes possible low-cost, high-quality reproduction in bulk. In 2008, counterfeit and pirated goods were estimated to be worth 2 % of total international trade.

last update 10.09.2015

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