European Commission step up fight against counterfeiting

European Commission discussions in Brussels

The European Commission announced, on 29th November 2017, that it is adopting a comprehensive package of measures to obtain a ‘more efficient and predictable judicial enforcement regime in the EU’, amid estimates that €85 billion ($101bn) worth of counterfeit or pirated products enter the European Union a year.

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, 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 – as well as our health and safety in areas such as medicines or toys."

With the commission claiming that these measures will take effect quicker than legal action, some of their planned initiatives are to cut advertising revenue streams and access to payment services on websites offering counterfeit goods and to combat IP infringements in supply chains by encouraging transport firms not to handle counterfeit products. They will also explore the potential of new technologies such as blockchain and support industry-led initiatives to combat IP infringements.

To encourage innovation and creativity, an IP Markets Watch List will be set-up that identifies online and physical markets outside the EU that are engaging in, or facilitating, substantial IPR infringements.

The commission also proposes to encourage the specialisation of national judges for IP and the systematic publication of national judgements in IP enforcement cases and has provided guidance on existing EU laws to protect intellectual property rights, with a view to ensuring that all member states apply them equally