10 Oct

Protecting Intellectual Property Rights: new EU Customs action plan adopted by the European Council

The Council yesterday endorsed, 9 October, a new EU customs action plan to combat infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR). The new action plan will cover the years 2018 to 2022.

It will ensure effective enforcement of IPR, tackle trade of IPR infringing goods throughout the international supply chain and strengthen cooperation in this area with the European Observatory as well as relevant law enforcement authorities.

The Commission is invited to prepare a roadmap by Spring 2019 on the implementation of the new action plan, as well as to monitor this implementation and to submit annual reports to the Council.

According to the plan, it is essential to improve framework conditions for business to innovate and to reduce the damage to its legitimate interests caused by counterfeiters taking advantage of the investments, efforts and brand reputation of right-holders.

The fight against international organisations engaged in fraud and organised crime, often searching for easy gains and economic benefits from the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods, also requires specific attention, as well as the risks that counterfeit and pirated goods may cause to consumers and end-users.

A comprehensive IPR legal framework must be combined with effective enforcement. Business and consumers rely heavily on the responsiveness of enforcement authorities. Customs play a key role in enforcement: once IPR infringing goods have entered the Single market, they are much more difficult to interrupt. Coordinating and planning European customs activities to combat IPR.

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