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Archived updates for Friday, November 12, 2004

EU Adopts Strategy for Enforcement of IPRs in Third Countries

On November 10, 2004 the European Commission announced that it has adopted the following strategy for the enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries.

  1. Identifying priority countries: EU action will focus on the most problematic countries in terms of IPR violations. These countries will be identified according to a regular survey to be conducted by the Commission among all stakeholders.
  2. Awareness raising: promote initiatives to raise public awareness about the impact of counterfeiting (loss of foreign investment and technology transfer, risks to health, link with organised crime, etc.) and make available to the public and to the authorities of third countries concerned a ?Guidebook on Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights?.
  3. Political dialogue, incentives and technical co-operation: ensuring that technical assistance provided to third countries focuses on IPR enforcement, especially in priority countries; exchanging ideas and information with other key providers of technical co-operation, like the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the US or Japan, with the aim of avoiding duplication of efforts and sharing of best-practices.
  4. IPR mechanisms in multilateral (including TRIPs), bi-regional and bilateral agreements: raising enforcement concerns in the framework of these agreements more systematically; consulting trading partners with the aim of launching an initiative in the WTO TRIPs Council, sounding the alert on the growing dimension of the problem, identifying the causes and proposing solutions and strengthening IPR enforcement clauses in bilateral agreements.
  5. Dispute settlement - sanctions: recall the possibility that right-holders have to make use of the Trade Barriers Regulation or of bilateral agreements, in cases of evidence of violations of TRIPs; in addition to the WTO dispute settlement, recall the possibility to use dispute settlement mechanisms included in bilateral agreements in case of non-compliance with the required standards of IPR protection.
  6. Creation of public-private partnerships: supporting/participating in local IP networks established in relevant third countries; using mechanisms already put in place by Commission services (IPR Help Desk and Innovation Relay Centres) to exchange information with right-holders and associations; build on the co-operation with companies and associations that are very active in the fight against piracy/counterfeiting.

EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said "Piracy and counterfeiting continue to grow every year and have become industries, increasingly run by criminal organisations. This is a serious problem for us but also for third countries whose companies are also suffering the consequences of violation of their own intellectual property rights. Some of these fakes, like pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs constitute an outright danger to the public, while others undermine the survival of EU?s most innovative sectors, confronted with the misappropriation of their creations. Adopting new legislation on intellectual property is one thing. But devising the right tools to enforce it is another. This is now our priority."

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