EU IP Policy Proposals, Initiatives Come Clear At 20th European IP Forum 04/03/2015 by Magda Voltolini for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)PARIS – A recent gathering of IP owners, lawyers and government officials explored strategies and potential policies to fight counterfeiting and piracy. The 20th European Intellectual Property Forum, sponsored by the French Union of Manufacturers (Union des Fabricants – UNIFAB) gathered international trademark owners, IP lawyers, entrepreneurs and French and European officials on 5-6 February. They met to examine the topic “Intellectual Property, an essential investment for growth,” and to discuss ways to fight against counterfeited products and digital piracy. Below are some of the policy actions to promote IP protection, IP enforcement and sustainable growth as suggested during the speeches. Christian Peugeot gives the opening speech of the event. Photo credit: 20ème Forum Européen de la Propriété Intellectuelle par l’Union des Fabricants Christian Peugeot, chairman of the Union des Fabricants and public affairs director of Peugeot Société Anonyme (PSA) Peugeot Citroën, started by highlighting that IP is an essential investment for growth in all sectors. He highlighted the role of IP rights in education and citizen consciousness, as to foster the recognition in the link between protection of IP rights and economic growth. His speech is available here. Richard Yung, senator of the French Abroad party and chairman of the National Anti-Counterfeiting Committee (Comité national anti-contrefaçon – CNAC) presented his perspectives. Yung proposed the French Counterfeits Law – Law No. 2014-315 of 11 March 2014, which modified several French regulations, namely the Intellectual Property Code and the Customs Code. The French version of the Law No. Law No. 2014-315 of 11 March 2014 is available here. He also emphasised the need to create citizen awareness about the role of IP rights in economic development. He announced the creation of a new IP working group before the Committee for European Affairs. It is not yet officially created, but it will be available to all members of parliament, according to sources. As regards the current French tax reduction scheme on patents, Yung said he requested a broadening of the scope of the current regime (15 percent instead of 33.33 percent), which is presently only applicable to the long term capital gains ensuing from product sales and patent licences. As such, he advocated a tax reduction scheme that includes know-how and the exploitation of patents inside a firm (such as licensing between two parts of the same company). Additionally, he called for “the harmonisation of patent taxation at the European level,” [thus] revising the so-called patent-boxes, instruction to fight against tax optimisation. In respect to the Unified Patent Court, Yung said, “the creation of a European patent with unitary effect is a tremendous opportunity to boost innovation, competitiveness and growth.” Lastly, he mentioned main initiatives carried out by the anti-counterfeiting committee, emphasising those that curb cyber-infringement. Antonio Campinos, president of the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), began by acknowledging the French Counterfeit Law proposed by Sen. Yung. He then mentioned recent seizures of counterfeit shoes by the French authorities and praised their continued commitment to fighting counterfeiting. OHIM’s Antonio Campinos at the opening session. Photo credit: 20ème Forum Européen de la Propriété Intellectuelle par l’Union des Fabricants Campinos also presented indicators based on studies of the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights (EU Observatory), which was transferred to OHIM two and a half years ago from the European Commission. The observatory’s mission is to “provide evidence-based contributions and data to enable EU policymakers to shape effective IP enforcement policies and to support innovation and creativity,” as well as “data, tools and databases to support the fight against IP infringement.” As such, he told participants that the EU Observatory brings together a broad network of stakeholders, “including relevant public authorities, private parties like industry associations, right holders representatives, trade unions of culture workers and, very importantly, civil society.” Campinos said that taking into consideration globalisation and the digitalisation of society, online piracy is a true 21st century threat in terms of IP infringement. “Particular emphasis will need to be placed on educating the younger generations, starting well before the teenage years,” he said. Next, he remarked on the important role of IP protection and enforcement in the generation of economic growth and employment, and that abuses such as online piracy could retard growth. To illustrate this, he recalled that according to “Intellectual Property Rights Intensive Industries: Contribution to Economic Performance and Employment in the European Union” Report, IPR-intensive industries contribute to “26 percent of employment, 39 percent of GDP in the EU and 90 percent of EU exports.” “The importance of IP in the EU economy is therefore pivotal,” Campinos said. According to preliminary results from a study from the EU Observatory that has just been carried out on the “quantification of infringement”, Campinos announced that “counterfeited products in the toiletry and personal care sector resulted in a loss of 51,000 jobs, loss of revenue for the EU industry of about 4.7 billion euros and loss of revenue for governments of about 1.7 billion euros. Studies will be performed for a dozen more sectors. The first results for the clothing and footwear sector indicate that up to 350,000 legitimate jobs are lost in the EU because of counterfeiting.” With respect to EU citizens’ awareness of IP, Campinos referred to the “European Citizens and Intellectual Property: Perception, Awareness and Behavior” study. He quoted, for instance, that “49 percent of EU citizens between 15 and 24 years old agree that the purchase of counterfeit can be seen as ‘an act of protest’,” and that “42 percent of Europeans consider it acceptable to download or access copyright-protected content illegally when it is for personal use. This number rises by 15 points to 57 percent amongst citizens from 15 to 24 years old.” “For this reason,” said Campinos, “the EU Observatory will focus on youngsters. It will establish a scoreboard to look at the evolution of these figures over the years and help identify the right messages to send out to our young generation and how best to interact with them. A new narrative will have to be found.” Finally, Campinos explained features and benefits of the three databases provided by the EU Observatory, namely the Enforcement Database (EDB), the Anti-Counterfeiting Intelligence Support Tool (ACIST), and the Orphan Works Database. The EDB is a central element in the fight against the imports of counterfeits, as it provides a tool that allows right holders to interact directly with enforcement authorities. They can submit an Application for Action to ask customs to detain potential imports of counterfeits. ACIST is a tool to help fight against counterfeits as well but with restricted access. Its database generates reports on seizures of infringing goods in the EU, indicating not only seizures at EU borders by customs but also within EU territory by other enforcement authorities, like the police for instance. And the Orphan Works Database is a crucial EU instrument designed to identify, digitalise and give access to millions of orphan works held by European public libraries, educational establishments, museums as well as different entertainment organisations. Ultimately, the database is destined to list orphan works in public establishments whose authors are unknown or who cannot be traced, and to give access of such works to public institutions. As to the future work of the EU Observatory, he announced, among other projects, the release of future reports on the economic importance of geographical indications and trade secrets, for the coming two years. Constance Le Grip, Member of the European Parliament, raised the question: “Is IP an essential investment for growth?” Three times yes, she replied. She inferred that there is no innovation, growth, employment and progress without IP protection and enforcement. Considering this hypothesis, Le Grip provided her perspectives on several proposed legislations in progress at the European level. As to initiatives concerning a single market for intellectual property rights, she referred to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament dated on 24 May 2011, even though she said that there is no consensus concerning the promotion and protection of IP rights within the European Parliament, for instance in the case of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA, which the European Parliament rejected in 2012). As to the entry into force of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), Le Grip said that there is still a long way to go. (To date, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Malta and Sweden have ratified the UPC Agreement, out of 13 instruments of ratification required as stipulated in Article 89.1 of the UPC Agreement.) As regards negotiations on the Revision of the Trade Mark System, Le Grip underscored that the EU trademark package initiatives aim at improving conditions to promote innovation and to protect trademarks effectively against counterfeit goods in transit through the EU’s territory. (The European Commission press release is available here.) Concerning proposals for the Data Protection Regulation (DPR) and a possible Copyright Reform, she mentioned the DPR as a move towards creating a digital and connected single market. With respect to a possible copyright reform, likewise, she referred to neighbouring rights and intermediaries’ liabilities in the context of establishing a digital single market. Finally, with respect to the EU Proposed Directive on Trade Secrets, as its rapporteur before the European Parliament, Le Grip gave a full description of the proposed text. She declared that “the necessary protection of know-how and confidential business information must go hand in hand with the maintenance of an effective flow of information and innovation and the preservation of freedoms and fundamental rights.” As to the classification of trade secrets, Le Grip declared, “trade secrets do not have a vocation to remain secret, they are not an exclusive property,” in the introduction of the hearing held by the Committee on Legal Affairs on 20 January 2015. Her speech is available here. Yves Lapierre, commissioner and CEO of the French Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI), told participants about the socio-economic role of IP in innovation and sustainable growth. His presentation focused on the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference known also as COP21, which will be held in Paris in December. More than 40,000 officials are expected to attend. INPI is an enabler of the UNFCCC as a founding partner of Solutions COP21 – an initiative aimed at highlighting solutions in the fight against climate change and its impact. Against this background, Lapierre explained to the audience about collaborative innovation projects under a sustainable and inclusive framework. He said that businesses of advanced and emerging countries will meet during the COP21 and will be able to create collaborative innovation projects that ensure the protection of IP rights in line with social and environmental responsibility, using, for example, geographical indications, natural resources and technology transfer agreements. Additionally, Lapierre encouraged a new vision of IP rights, without the traditional North and South perspectives. He declared, also, that young people are very sensitive to the promotion of sustainable growth. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Magda Voltolini may be reached at email@example.com."EU IP Policy Proposals, Initiatives Come Clear At 20th European IP Forum" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.