|Even with the assistance of|
Europe's finest, the EU has
found it hard to keep fakes
out of the single market ...
"Large parts of the economic growth and jobs in the EU depend on the effective enforcement of intellectual property rights ... customs authorities are in a comparatively good position to enforce" [Being in a "comparatively good position" to enforce is not the same as being able to enforce, says Merpel. It's frustrating when you're in that position and the law doesn't let you do what you know must be done].The new rules contained in the draft Regulation on customs enforcement of intellectual property are due to replace Regulation 1383/2003 and would lay down procedures enabling customs authorities to stop suspected goods (on which see here). The Commission proposal extends the scope of the rules to include illegal parallel trade (trade in goods which has not been approved by the rights holder and which enters the EU through unapproved channels) and goods bearing lookalike trade marks. It also proposes that anyone receiving small postal consignments of counterfeit goods would be given the option of agreeing to their destruction without having to pay the costs of storage and destruction.
The Creutzmann report suggests that small consignments be defined as fewer than items, weighing less than two kilos and contained in one package. It also wants the customer to have a say before the goods are destroyed. The European Parliament report also expresses concern that the measures could hamper legitimate trade in generic drugs between non-EU countries and stresses that intellectual property legislation applies only to goods being delivered in the EU, not to goods transiting through Europe. Additionally it calls for a Commission analysis of the effectiveness of current customs measures aimed at combating trade in falsified medicines.
The group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament has tabled an amendment which would exclude goods covered by patents and supplementary protection certificates from the scope of customs enforcement of intellectual property rights. This proposal, were it to be accepted, would be extremely detrimental to Europe's knowledge-based economy, this Kat understands, since a significant proportion of border detentions relate to patent-protected goods (for some useful statistics on this subject, click here).
A major katpat to Marius Schneider (Eeman & Partners, Brussels) for providing this momentous news.