A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights

Posted on: 31/05/2011

A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights

On 24th May 2011,the Commission adopted a comprehensive strategy to revamp the legal framework in which Intellectual Property Rights operate. The strategy aims to cover IPR comprehensively by addressing a wide range of issues including patents, trademarks, geographical indications (GIs), copyright licensing, and IPR violations. The Commission has produced the following summary:
 
WHAT'S THE ISSUE? 
·         Intellectual property rights (IPR) – e.g. patents, trademarks, copyright and designs – enable authors, designers, inventors and artists to make money from their work by deciding how, when and where their creations and inventions are used and marketed. 
·         By giving people an incentive to be creative and innovative, IPR promotes growth in the European economy, creating and protecting millions of jobs. Therefore these rights need to be both promoted and protected throughout Europe. 
·         Certain problems exist in Europe such as the current patent system which is complex and costly, making it difficult to get patents protected across the EU – especially for small businesses. 
·         The increase in counterfeiting and piracy poses a threat to the European economy and to public health and safety.
 
WHAT IS THE EU PROPOSING? 
·         The European Commission is proposing a strategy – 'A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights' – which sets a blueprint to shape the future for IPRs in Europe. 
·         It covers various actions on trademarks, patents, copyright and enforcement, so that businesses and individuals can generate income from their work, so that consumers and commercial users are able to access information and knowledge-based products and Europe's rich cultural heritage is preserved. 
·         It also sets out a more effective enforcement strategy for intellectual property rights within the EU, at the EU's borders and in conjunction with non-EU countries.
 
WHAT EXACTLY WILL CHANGE? 
·         Creation of a unitary patent protection system so inventors need register only one patent covering most EU countries – reducing costs and red tape.
·         Better protection of brands through a modernised trade-mark system – simpler, faster, more effective, efficient and consistent.
·         Facilitating EU access to copyright-protected works, particularly online and including to Europe's cultural heritage.
·         More effective cooperation in the EU against counterfeiting and piracy.
 
WHO WILL BENEFIT AND HOW? 
·         The public will benefit from a stronger EU economy, more high-quality jobs, easier access to IPR-protected works and the assurance that the products and services they buy are genuine and safe. 
·         IPRs are vital for Europe's 25 million small and mid-size businesses – protecting their investment in new products and services, helping them secure access to financing and increasing fair competition. 
·         A switch to legitimate trading (away from counterfeit and pirated good) will boost tax revenues for EU governments.
 
WHY DOES ACTION HAVE TO BE TAKEN BY THE EU? 
·         Businesses and individuals want access to knowledge, works and products from all over the EU – through simple and safe procedures and on the same terms. Action at national level alone cannot deliver this.
·         Only the EU can replace the current system of national patents.
·         The fight against international counterfeiting and piracy is more effective when carried out at EU level.
 
WHEN IS THE PROPOSAL LIKELY TO COME INTO EFFECT? 
·         At various times between 2011 and end 2014.
 
The provisional proposal, entitled ‘A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights’ is available for download HERE
Europa Website - Source document LINK
 

 

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