Wednesday, 13 January 2010

EU: Criminal enforcement of IPR? Resurrection of IPRED2?

In the blog post EU IPR enforcement discussion (12 January 2010) we mentioned the conference arranged by the Swedish presidency of the Council of the European Union: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, with a Special Focus on Trademarks and Patents (15 December 2009).

Monika Ermert has written an illuminating post on the blog of Intellectual Property Watch: ACTA May Prompt Quick Restart To EU Harmonisation Of Criminal Enforcement Of IP (21 December 2010).

According to Ermert’s sources, the European Union seems to be preparing for the adoption of the “gold standard” of enforcement, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The European Commission is preparing for a quick restart of a legislative process in the EU to harmonise criminal law sanctions. The Commission may table the new IPRED2 proposal in May or June 2010.

EU Stockholm Programme

In December 2009 the European Council adopted The Stockholm Programme – An open and secure Europe serving and protecting the citizens (dated 2 December 2009; Council document 17024/09).

Under Economic crime and corruption, the European Council calls for criminal sanctions against IPR infringements (page 49):

Counterfeiting is a serious danger for consumers and economies. The Union must improve studies of this phenomenon and ensure that greater account is taken of law enforcement aspects in the work of the future European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy. The European Council calls upon the Council and the European Parliament to consider as soon as possible legislation on criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Draft Council Resolution

The draft Council Resolution (document 5022/10) on the Commission Communication Enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market was discussed yesterday in the Council’s Working Party on Intellectual Property.

The draft Resolution contained an invitation to the Commission (page 5):

… in close collaboration with the Member States, to analyze the application of the Directive 2004/48/EC, including an assessment of the effectiveness, of the measures taken and, while taking account of the rapidly developing digital environment, if necessary propose appropriate amendments.

Criminal IPR sanctions are in the pipeline, but we don’t know their scope, either internationally (ACTA) or in the internal market (IPRED2 redux), but the two are connected.

Ralf Grahn

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