On 1 July 2014, the Commission adopted a Communication on an Action Plan to address infringements of intellectual property rights in the EU and a Strategy for the protection and enforcement of IPR in third countries.
In line with the Europe 2020 Strategy, the communication focuses on the enforcement of IPRs through 10 actions and, in particular, the fight against commercial scale IP infringing activity. New enforcement policy tools are proposed, such as the “Follow the Money” which seeks to deprive commercial scale infringers of revenue flows that attract them to such activities. Following Stakeholder Dialogues involving advertising service providers, payment services and shippers, a further voluntary Memoranda of Understanding will be developed to reduce the profits of commercial scale IP infringements online.
The Commission also intends to promote efforts to launch and monitor a new generation of targeted communication campaigns, which will include campaigns to raise awareness amongst citizens, especially young people on the economic harm caused by commercial scale IP infringements. Furthermore, a Member State Expert Group will be established to share best practices and the Commission will issue a Green Paper to consult stakeholders on the impact of chargeback and related schemes to tackle commercial scale IP infringements.
The Communication is complemented by a Strategy for the protection and enforcement of IPR in third countries. As regards the international protection of IPR, the Commission proposes continuing multilateral efforts to improve the international IPR framework; working with partner countries, through IP dialogues and working groups; conducting regular surveys to identify ‘priority countries’; assisting SMEs and right-holders on the ground through IPR Helpdesks; and raising awareness of IP-related technical assistance programmes to third countries.
These actions will be launched in 2014 and 2015 and some of them implemented by the Commission in partnership with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). The Commission will then monitor the delivery of these initiatives, and invites the European Parliament, the Council, Member States, the European Economic and Social Committee and stakeholders (including European Observatory on Infringements of IPR) to actively contribute. The Commission will then consider whether further, potentially legislative, steps are necessary.
For more information, see the Commission press release and FAQ online.