19 September 2016

IPR infringement is a ‘major problem’, finds European Commission consultation

The European Commission has published a summary of responses from the public on the modernisation of intellectual property right (IPR) enforcement.

Published on Wednesday, September 14, the European Commission found that IPR infringement is a “major problem”.

The Commission launched its public consultation in December 2015 to evaluate the enforcement of the Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property (IPRED).

It received 492 responses to the consultation, with 454 responses through an online tool and 41 responses by email.

The aim of the consultation was to help assess the functioning of IPRED in the online environment, with a view to identifying the possible need for adapting its provisions and to propose corrective measures.

The report summarises the contributions of different stakeholder groups addressed by the consultation such as rights holders, the judiciary and legal profession, intermediaries, member states, public authorities, and consumers.

More than three quarters of responding rights holders and public authorities said that IPR infringements have increased over the last ten years.

The reason for the increase includes the development of the internet and e-commerce, the development of new business models and intermediaries and the sophistication and globalisation of piracy, according to the summary.

IPR infringements are reported to not only have a negative overall financial impact on turnover but also cause reputational damage and generate high monitoring and enforcement costs.

“Many respondents noted how piracy was extremely reactive and quick to adapt its tactics to exploit loopholes in the IP protection regime,” said the summary.

It was felt that counterfeiters and pirates were taking advantage of the internet to act globally, making enforcement even more challenging.

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