Brussels, 05 June 2002
The level of infringement of intellectual property rights in Europe requires a unified response from the EU, according to delegates at a seminar on the defence of intellectual property in the EU held in Madrid at the end of May.
Included in the measures recommended by those who attended the event were the harmonisation of the EU Member States' approach to the problem and the establishment of a European observatory on infringement of intellectual property rights. While not directly addressing the impact on science, research and innovation, these measures, if enacted, could substantially benefit these areas. Infringements of intellectual property rights have been highlighted as a barrier to researchers and SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) making the most of their innovations.
The differences between the regimes operating in the various Member States was highlighted as a major factor in allowing infringements to continue unchallenged. The differences exist not just in what constitutes infringements, but also in the procedures for defending intellectual property rights. Delegates called on the European Commission to present a proposal for a Directive which would address this issue.
The idea of a European observatory on infringement of intellectual property rights has been previously suggested by the European Commission. Delegates called for the establishment of this body to become an immediate priority. In addition, both Eurojust and Europol need to give more focus to the issue of intellectual property infringements, they said.