The European Commission has today adopted two communications – an Action Plan to address infringements of intellectual property rights in the EU and a Strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in third countries.
The EU Action Plan sets out a number of actions to focus the EU’s IPR enforcement policy on commercial scale infringements (the so-called ‘follow the money’ approach). The Strategy setting out an international approach examines recent changes and presents ways to improve the Commission’s current means of action to promote enhanced IPR standards in third countries and to stem the trade in IPR infringing goods.
“The adoption of this Action Plan shows how we want to re-orientate our policy towards better compliance with intellectual property rights by the private sector”, explains EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier. ”Rather than penalising the individual for infringing intellectual property rights, often unknowingly, the actions set out here pave the way towards a ‘follow the money’ approach, with the aim of depriving commercial-scale infringers of their revenue flows.”
Today’s globalised economy relies increasingly on knowledge-based industries, which resisted the crisis well and are growing strongly. The number of new European patent registrations, registered Community Trade Marks and Community Designs more than doubled between 2003 and 2012. But the high numbers of infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR) can harm this positive trend. In 2012 alone, EU border control agencies registered 90,000 cases of goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (compared to fewer than 27,000 in 2005). The OECD estimates that the annual loss from IPR infringements to the world economy is around €200 billion.