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Monday, 3 December 2012

Getting Civil: the European Commission consults on IP Lit

The European Commission: a bit
faceless at times, but they do mean well ...
Here's some good news for all those hapless souls who find themselves called upon to participate in civil IP litigation in the European Union: they now have a fresh audience for their chorus of woes: the European Commission has just launched a Public Consultation with the promising title “Civil enforcement of intellectual property rights: public consultation on the efficiency of proceedings and accessibility of measures” -- and it runs from last Friday, 30 November 2012, to 30 March 2013.  According to the European Commission:
“This technical survey aims at gathering specific information ['specific information' being a  new code-word for 'evidence-based', perhaps?] on the efficiency of proceedings and accessibility of measures used in the context of civil enforcement of intellectual property rights. These data will enable Commission to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the functionality of civil enforcement systems put in place in the Member States in order to improve the situation of all the actors active in the innovative sectors of European economy”.
According to the Consultation Document 
“In particular, this survey is seeking information from stakeholders that participated in civil proceedings concerning infringements of intellectual property rights, namely plaintiffs and defendants, as well as from other parties involved in such proceedings.”
Contributions can be submitted through this webpage,

The European patent package: skirmishes between
Bifurcators and Unificators were all too frequent ...
The IPKat hopes that this survey will provide some firm data upon which to compare and contrast the performance of national courts in infringement proceedings, and that it will not just enable Europe to develop a list of "best practices" but will also help litigants shop around for the best forum in an increasingly competitive market for legal services.  Additionally, after the Thirty Years War over the new European patent package, it's good to see the Commission get involved in a consultation in which (i) there is likely to be a large measure of agreement as to the desired end and (ii) the Commission will be more likely to listen to expert opinion.

Merpel says, hold on -- this shouldn't just be about infringement. What about actions for breach of contract where the contract in question is an IP licence? And what about pre-emptive measures that are intended to short-circuit infringement litigation, such as actions for invalidity of registered rights and declarations of non-infringement? Let's keep the sweep wide and be led by what businesses do in the real world,  not by the way that administers choose to categorise legal actions.

A katpat to Magali Delhaye for providing this information.

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