Danish EU Presidency Priorities Include Research, Innovation, IP Rights

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Among Denmark’s many priorities for its six-month presidency of the European Union which started this month are advancing intellectual property rights, international trade, research and innovation. IP issues include a unitary EU patent, trademark rules modernisation, and orphan works legislation.

According to the document of its priorities, Denmark plans to put a firm focus on education, research and innovation programmes aimed at making Europe more competitive. In the priority document, it highlighted an EU-wide patent, trademark rules, standards, IPR enforcement, e-commerce, creativity and accessible online content as priorities.

Intellectual property came up specifically in the section on Competitiveness. Denmark confirmed it will continue to push a unitary patent in a number of EU states. “The Presidency will carry forward the effort to introduce a unitary patent system and the establishment of a European unified patent court system,” it said. “The objective is to strengthen the basis for innovation and contribute to boosting European companies’ competitiveness at global level.” But it did not provide details on how it will proceed following the Polish presidency’s gains in December (IPW, European Policy, 22 December 2011).

In relation to modernisation of European trademark rules, the presidency “will commence the Council’s work towards improving and strengthening the European trademark system,” it said. “The Presidency will carry forward the Council’s work for more effective enforcement of IP rights through consideration of the Commission proposal for i.a. a revision of the regulation concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights and the draft regulation on the authorisation of OHIM [the European trademark agency] to take charge of special tasks in connection with the protection of intellectual property.”

Furthermore, it said, “the Presidency will follow up on the Commission’s proposal for an orphan works directive,” referring to efforts to enable exploitation of works for whom the copyright holder is not known or does not respond.

Broadly speaking, “the Danish Presidency will … continue the work on raising the visibility of the broad potential that the cultural and creative sector possesses in terms of creating new solutions that contribute to promoting growth and innovation,” it said. “This will take place e.g. by prioritising the work on the programme proposal, Creative Europe.”

It also said, “The Presidency will engage in active effort to ensure that the EU’s forthcoming framework programme for research and innovation, “Horizon 2020″, provides researchers, knowledge institutions and companies with easier access to funding.” It stressed “maintaining and expanding excellent research environments in Europe.” The European Council of ministers from the 27 EU member states will need to negotiate the proposal on Horizon 2020, it said. Denmark will try to increase momentum in the negotiations.

The Council also will negotiate an amendment to the regulation on the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, as well as a proposal for a Strategic Innovation Agenda, among other research.

In addition, “entrepreneurship and innovation must also be promoted by creating favorable conditions for developing ideas within research, development and education of benefit to small and medium-sized enterprises,” it said.

Other priorities include boosting a “digital single market” with more cross-border trade by dismantling barriers and improving e-commerce in the EU, including better consumer access to alternative dispute resolution systems, also online. Furthermore, it will work to promote the recently negotiated Convention on Biological Diversity Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing.

On standardisation, it said it should contribute more to promoting innovation, growth and trade in the Single Market. Another important area of mention was to ensure sufficient venture capital is available for innovation and growth.

Trade policy will play a key role as well, Denmark said, with a particular focus on market access in the large emerging economies, including negotiations with Brazil and other southern cone countries, Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, a free trade agreement with India, and the possible initiation of negotiations with China. Other trade priorities are development, free trade talks with Japan, strengthening the multilateral system, and trade deals in Central America and the Andean region.

Other key issues repeatedly highlighted by Denmark are green technology, public health research, and food safety.

The Danish report on priorities is here.

The Danish presentation of its priorities is here.

William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

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