Saturday, 18 February 2012

European Parliament (IMCO): Customs enforcement of intellectual property rights

After the introductory blog post about the proposed EU regulation about customs enforcement of intellectual property rights COM(2011) 285, we follow this future ”more robust enforcement tool” to the European Parliament.

The committee stage in the EP is soon closing for the new regulation. The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) is scheduled to vote on 29 February 2012 (agenda item No 21).

The draft report by Jürgen Creutzmann PE470.069 proposes 60 amendments to the Commission text.

The rapporteur wants to make the distinction between procedural and substantive intellectual property (IP) law even clearer. Thus, the regulation should not set out any criterion for determining an infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR).

The report does not subscribe to a simplified procedure only for counterfeit and pirated goods, but wants all IPR infringements to be treated in the same, simplified manner.

Small consignments are a special case. Creutzmann does not want the Commission to use a delegated act to define a small consignment. Hence, he introduces a definition into the regulation. A total weight of less than 2 kilograms seems clear enough, but does ”less than three items” mean a maximum of two?

The explanatory statement (from page 44) shows unwavering support for toughening customs control, welcoming the extension of the scope to all types of IPR infringements contemplated by the EU's and member states' substantive legislation, including parallel trade and overruns.

Since this regulation should remain procedural, Creutzmann calls for future substantive legislation, as in:

The rapporteur is of the opinion that the substantive IP law should recognise the principle that fake goods also constitute infringements of IPR when they are for private use and encourages the Commission to address this problem by revising the respective legislation.

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The principle of freedom of transit was never intended to apply to illicit trade, including goods which infringe IPRs. Therefore the rapporteur encourages the Commission to ensure in future revisions of substantive IP law that goods placed under suspensive procedures that are imitations or copies of goods protected in the EU by IPRs can always be classified as counterfeit and pirated goods.


Opinions

Marielle Gallo has prepared the opinion PE478.335 of the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) about the proposal to replace regulation 1383/2003. Some amendments were proposed.

The opinion PE476.120 of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) was prepared by Josefa Andrés Barea. The opinion discusses especially goods in transit, parallel trade and international cooperation.


Amendments

In addition to the sixty amendments proposed by the rapporteur, IMCO can look forward to voting on a number of other amendments (61 – 259), found in document PE480.583.

The preliminary date for the EP plenary debate is 22 May 2012.



Ralf Grahn
speaker on EU affairs, especially digital policy and law

P.S. 1: For better or for worse, between the global issues and the national level, the European Union shapes our digital future and online freedoms. More than 900 euroblogs are aggregated by multilingual Bloggingportal.eu. Is your blog already listed among them? Are you following the debates which matter for your future?

P.S. 2: A few moments ago, the petition launched by @Avaaz for the European Parliament (and the national parliaments) to reject #ACTA had already been signed by 2,363,595 netizens, but more are welcome until the official funeral of the anti-piracy treaty.