Amendments to Pavel Svoboda’s draft report on EU action plan to enforce IP rights
Adequate protection of intellectual property rights is a prerequisite for the development of the digital economy and of the digital single market. Considers that respect for the exercise of intellectual property rights and efforts to combat counterfeiting should be the main objectives of the action plan. Considers that it will be possible to achieve greater transparency and better information in an effective manner only with the cooperation of the main internet stakeholders who convey content protected by IPR and that it is therefore desirable to involve them in such efforts to achieve transparency and the circulation of information.
Intellectual property rights (IPRs) are legal rights relating to creations from intellectual activities in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields; IPRs enable creators or holders of the patent for an invention, of a trademark or of a work protected by copyright to subsequently benefit from their work and their investment; intellectual property rights are one of the driving forces of innovation and creativity and a key contributor to competitiveness and employment; the enforcement of intellectual property rights plays a significant role in ensuring consumers’ health and safety; counterfeiting is generally linked with a black economy. Reiterates its call for a comprehensive IPR strategy, including a complete and strong legal framework to combat counterfeiting and piracy adapted to the online environment; considers that legal protection is urgently needed for new creations since this will encourage investment and lead on to further innovations.
Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg
The EU faces a high number of intellectual property rights infringements, whereas the volume and financial value of these infringements are alarming, as reported by the Commission in its report on the application of the Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights; in spite of the small reduction in the number of packages suspected of infringing intellectual property rights, customs authorities noted as many as 87 000 incidents of such abuses in 2013, while the value of the 36 million articles seized is estimated at more than EUR 768 million. The placing on the market of goods that are counterfeit, uncertified and not in compliance with EU standards may be harmful to consumers' health and lives. There is a certain level of tolerance among Europeans for the idea that IPR infringements could be considered legitimate, especially among the young generation and entrepreneurial start-up companies. There is a need to redouble efforts to combat the illegal trade in counterfeit goods, and no one should make a profit out of IPR infringements.
Believes that all actors in the supply chain have a role to play in the fight against IPR infringement and should be involved in this process; stresses that an approach involving all actors should be developed both in the online and in the offline context; believes that fundamental rights need to be balanced for this to be successful as measures that impact fundamental rights cannot be undertaken voluntarily by commercial operators, but need a legal basis and judicial oversight. Takes the view as well that opportunities for infringement should not be created, and that business models should be reconsidered by the industry in certain sectors; feels, furthermore, that adequate safeguards should be taken in respect of copyright-protected goods. Takes the view that extensive intermediary liability regimes threaten the development of new business models and a free and open internet.
Insists on the need to take into account SMEs when drafting legislation, and reiterates that the ‘think small first’ principle should be applied at all times, in particular with regards to clarifying which achievements constitute patentable subject matter. Insists that the important role played by customs and international cooperation in the fight against IPR infringement in cross-border trade must not undermine global public health targets and trade in generic medicines.
Constance Le Grip
The development of ecommerce and online activities has changed the way IPR enforcement in the digital environment should be considered, particularly because it affords new possibilities for infringement. There is a certain level of tolerance among Europeans for the idea that IPR infringements could be considered legitimate, especially among the young generation; this is particularly attributable to the fact that citizens/consumers are insufficiently aware of the disastrous impact of counterfeiting, which has become a global phenomenon with alarming economic and social consequences, with production sites and extensive distribution networks, particularly using the internet. Law enforcement is essential, and it is of the utmost importance to find effective means of enforcing IPR, particularly on the internet, which has become the prime channel for distribution of counterfeits. Calls on the Commission to work to redefine the status of intermediaries in the current digital environment and to formulate proposals for compelling them to shoulder their responsibilities.
Deplores the fact that the Commission’s action plan does not include any action designed to improve consumers’ ability to identify infringing goods and contents, and calls on the Commission to reflect further on the development of specific tools, particularly the establishment of a harmonised European system of notification/withdrawal of infringing goods and content, so that consumers and undertakings can take action when they are misled in the same way as they can act to draw attention to undesirable content. Believes that progress with regard to the competitive supply of non-infringing products and content must continue, so that citizens/consumers genuinely have every opportunity to purchase licit goods or to use licit content. Stresses the need to support and facilitate the work performed by customs services in mutual cooperation, by clarifying operational rules, particularly in order that this work may permit the effective performance of inspections on goods in transit within EU territory.
There is a certain level of tolerance among Europeans for the idea that IPR infringements could be considered legitimate, especially among the young generation as well as poor understanding of which types of web content use are permitted. It is necessary and possible to run suitable user awareness and information campaigns, particularly for younger users, on the social and cultural importance of copyright.
There is a certain level of knowledge gap among the younger generation regarding actions considered as infringements of intellectual property rights.
Calls to define what ‘commercial-scale infringements’ are so as to deprive ‘commercial-scale’ infringers of their revenues.
Stresses that the enforcement of intellectual property rights should be proportionate and respect users’ fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the right to presumption of innocence, the right to fair trial, confidentiality of communications. Any restrictions to users’ rights must be foreseen by law.
Amendments (de) to report (de) are included in the text whether in a form of a wording, replacing initial text, or in a form of a text included in initial draft.