Posted on Monday 19 February 2018 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property
In January the EU Commission launched a public consultation to establish the ‘Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List.’ This list will be the first of its kind for the EU and intends to identify marketplaces outside of the EU where forms of Intellectual Property (IP) infringement in terms of counterfeit and piracy have become common occurrences. It will also place special emphasis on the online marketplace. According to EU statistics, IP intensive industries account for 42% of EU GDP, creating 38% of all jobs and 90% of EU exports, such figures demonstrate the importance of IP protection for these sectors and the requirement for such a ‘Watch List.’ This public consultation (which is open until March 25th) will collect information on these markets including location, types of goods or services, types of infringement, estimated harm for rights holders and is planned for release later in 2018, with regular updates by the Commission.
Part of A Wider Plan
This ‘Watch List’ is part of a larger initiative brought forward by the EU Commission to tackle the growing concerns and issues of IP infringement. In November of last year, they announced they will be adapting certain measures to protect right holders including reducing the number of counterfeit products reaching Europe, supporting industry-led initiatives against IP infringement and encouraging similar judicial frameworks across Member States. Speaking at the initiative launch, Elżbieta Bieńkowska EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SME’s stated, ‘Today we boost our collective ability to catch the ‘big fish’ behind fake goods and pirated content which harm our companies and our jobs.’
Counterfeit a Growing Concern
While figures for 2017 have yet to be released, statistics for 2016 published by the EU Commission found that in 2016 EU Customs seized over 41 million fake goods at EU borders and which had a total value of over €670 million. Products such as toys, medicines and electrical household goods made up 34.2% of the detained goods and cause great concern due to the potential health and safety dangers of these items. Figures like these provide important and useful information for IP holders and pave the way for such initiatives like the planned EU Watch List.
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