From October 2016 to March 2017 the team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Tian Lu and Hayleigh Bosher.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Raptures over Rapkay, garlands for Gallo, as transitory attack of common sense smites European Parliament

Sic transit gloria mundi
Today was a red-letter day for the 15 organisations (listed here on the MARQUES Class 46 weblog) which have been campaigning long and hard for an end to the cruel, inconvenient and ultimately nonsensical rule that fake goods can be transported across the length and breadth of the territory of the European Union without fear of intervention, so long as they are not actually placed on the market there. The degree of their celebration can be measured from the tone as well as the content of the media release which they have just jointly released. It reads as follows:
"BUSINESS COMMUNITY WELCOMES TODAY’S VOTE BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ON COUNTERFEIT GOODS IN TRANSIT AND URGES COUNCIL TO FOLLOW SUIT

The undersigned organisations representing thousands of companies across all industry lines and sectors welcome today’s vote by the European Parliament of robust measures to fight the transit of trade mark counterfeit goods in the EU as part of a wider review of the European Union trade mark legislation.

Trade mark counterfeiting is a global, pervasive and serious hindrance to growth and jobs, and often a threat to citizen health and safety. The capacity of European customs to act is essential in this fight against the trade of counterfeits.

Since the Philips/Nokia ruling (Cases C-446 and 495/09 [noted by the IPKat here]) in 2011, under EU law, European customs can check counterfeit goods transiting through the EU but can only stop them if there is a risk of these goods entering into the Single Market. This means in practice that customs are powerless against counterfeit goods on route to a third country, and must let them go, at the risk of these goods being illegally diverted back into the EU.

The new provisions adopted today will allow customs to stop trade mark counterfeit goods even if destined to a country outside the EU and will not affect the trade of legitimate goods under the EU’s WTO international obligations. Likewise, these provisions ensure that genuine generic medicines will reach their final destination.

Trade mark-intensive industries account for 21% of all direct jobs in the EU and for 34% of the EU GDP. The global trade of counterfeits has been growing exponentially and the lack of adequate rules at EU level has exacerbated the problem affecting companies, governments and citizens across Europe. Indeed, the 2012 detention statistics from EU customs have shown an unprecedented and extremely worrying fall by 65% on the year before. Without robust rules to stem the tide, the risk of the EU being a hub for the trade of counterfeits is real.

We salute this vote and the political courage of MEPs Marielle Gallo (left) and Bernhard Rapkay (right) who sponsored the transit provisions which were adopted today. With this vote, the European Parliament signals that it is serious about stopping trade mark counterfeits to protect consumers everywhere and that the EU should show leadership in the global fight against counterfeiting".
Readers of this weblog may be as surprised as Merpel was to see such praise heaped on Bernhard Rapkay. Is he not the same Bernhard Rapkay who helped force through the current new European Patent Package (see eg earlier Katposts herehere and here), she asks, and who famously uttered the words
"We are the Parliament. We are the Parliament. We are the only ones that have been directly elected… The legitimate law makers are the Council, not patent lawyers. It is not up to the patent lawyers to come up with the law".
Well, this Kat for one is pleased to detect some evidence here of a genuine appreciation here for the very real needs of not just brand owners but European consumers. Can it be that he has finally seen the light and that we might one day find that we can talk to him as a friend?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do hope that this doesnt lead the port of Rotterdam to be much less busy.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a shame that other provisions of the package are left out here. After all the EP also adopted an intriguing proposal on the vexed question of parodies...

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