[Guest post] European Commission unveils new IP Action Plan

The IPKat is pleased to host the following guest post by former GuestKat Bertrand Sautier on the recently released European Commission's Action Plan on IP. Here's what Bertrand writes:

European Commission unveils new IP Action Plan

by Bertrand Sautier

The IPKat's own action plan
Following the publication of the New EU Industrial Strategy in March, the new action plan on IP
published today by the European Commission (EC) offers plenty of promises for regulatory changes on all kinds of topics.

Entitled “Making the most of the EU’s innovative potential An intellectual property action plan to support the EU’s recovery and resilience”, the plan covers many recommendations to tackle 5 IP-related challenges: 
  • fragmentation of IP protection at a European level (EP patents, SPCs and GIs), 
  • underutilisation of IP by SMEs, 
  • complexity and lack of transparency in licensing of SEPs, 
  • growing counterfeiting and piracy, and 
  • lack of fair play at global level. 

Whilst some of these measures were expected and aligned with the work of the EC over the past few years, it is interesting to note that this plan adapts to recent evolutions on topics like technology access in crisis times or SEP related disputes.

Notable actions and statements have been quickly selected for you below. There is of course plenty more to discuss about the future of this plan and the various initiatives that will emerge from it. 

Unitary patent

The EC supports a rapid roll out of the unitary patent system, to create a one-stop-shop for patent protection and enforcement across the EU (2021), currently on hold pending German ratification of the UPC agreement.

The launch various support programs, including IP Vouchers for SMEs to cover partial reimbursements for trademark and design registration and for an IP scan. Some are already parts of the IP4SME program.

AI and blockchain to improve the effectiveness of IP systems, including for prior art search.

Speaking of AI, the EU institution also wants its say on AI-generated creations. The Commission considers that AI systems should not be treated as authors or inventors, confirming the recent position of the EPO, UKIPO and USPTO in the DABUS case.


Following the patent pledges and pooling related to the COVID 19 therapeutics and vaccines, the Commission states to be “looking into ways to incentivise the rapid pooling of critical IP in times of crisis, for instance through a novel licensing system making critical IP available(…)”, including via compulsory licences as last resort.


Recognising that SEP disputes currently seen in the automotive sector might extend to many other sectors, the Commission wishes to reduce frictions between SEP owners and implementers via industry-led initiatives, but most importantly, through reforms to improve the rules governing essentiality declarations, licensing and enforcement of SEPs, including a third-party essentiality check independent system. 

Online platforms

Finally, the Commission aims to clarify the responsibilities of online platforms in hosting illegal content, using the legal framework provided by the Digital Services Act [coming up next week, it seems ...].
[Guest post] European Commission unveils new IP Action Plan [Guest post] European Commission unveils new IP Action Plan Reviewed by Eleonora Rosati on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. So looks like the EU Commission is now basically telling the member states to go ahead with implementing the UP:

    "The unitary patent system will become effective with the entry into force of the UPCA. With the ratification process now on track following the resolution of the constitutional complaint before the German Constitutional Court, it is now expected that that the new system could start operating in 2022, following the ‘provisional application period' that should start in 2021.

    Thus the Commission is calling upon Member States for a rapid roll-out of the Unitary Patent System."

    Cynics who were of the view that the UP was being delayed simply to get the UK out of the door before its implementation will not find much in this to disprove their pre-existing views.


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