With the festive season upon us, the Europe Representative Office is busy wrapping up its work on several notable issues regarding Brexit and intellectual property (IP), among other things.
Brexit: While Uncertainty Dominates the Process, INTA Proposes a Clear Position and Advocates for IP Protection as a Priority
While ten months have passed since the official triggering of the ‘Brexit’ negotiations in March 2017, the EU and the UK finally reached a compromise on December 8 to agree to move from the current ‘divorce’ phase of the negotiations to the second phase dedicated to the new relationship. This first phase was dominated by core issues, such as the fate of their respective citizens living in each other’s territory, the ‘bill’ to be paid by the UK to exit, and the UK’s border with Ireland with little—if any—consideration of others. Therefore, with IP-related issues far down on the list of priorities on both sides so far, a strong sense of uncertainty remains among brand owners and practitioners regarding the fate of IP once ‘Brexit’ actually occurs.
In this context, INTA has stepped up its advocacy efforts to elevate the status of IP in the negotiations, and to provide tools to help brand owners maintain strong IP protection in the EU and the UK post-Brexit. In March 2017, the Association published Brexit Brands Toolkit: Preparing Brand Owners for Brexit
, a guide for companies to anticipate key challenges. Subsequently, at the November 2017 Leadership Meeting, the INTA Board of Directors approved a position paper
that provides concrete recommendations on issues of particular concern to brand owners and practitioners. In particular, INTA is advocating for four core principles the EU and UK need to safeguard during Brexit negotiations and when Brexit becomes effective. These are:
- Minimum disruption of trade;
- Minimum costs;
- Maximum retention of rights; and
- Maximum transparency and legal clarity.
With Brexit negotiations ongoing through 2018 (until March 2019, except if the European Council decides to extend the period), INTA will continue promoting its position paper and raising the profile of IP issues in the negotiations.
Learn more about INTA’s activities on the dedicated Brexit topic portal here
New Suggested Measures on Enforcement and Anticounterfeiting in the EU
The European Commission published its long-awaited ‘IP package’ on November 29 to address ways to improve IP enforcement in the EU. The EU Commission ultimately decided not to review the legislation (Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property rights—‘IPRED’
) but rather to push forward a set of voluntary measures which include:
Notably, the EU Commission will propose a new MOU aimed at withholding advertising on IP infringing websites, a second MOU for the transport and shipping industries, and a third MOU for providers of payment services. The Commission will also set up an IP markets watch-list in the second half of 2018, “identifying online and physical markets that engage in or facilitate substantial IPR infringements.”
The Europe Representative Office shared the recently updated the Association's "Addressing the Sales of Counterfeits on the Internet" guide and looks forward to further promoting this important best practices guide in Europe.
The Europe office also gathered recommendations from the Association’s Anticounterfeiting and Enforcement Committees on enforcement-related issues in the EU where harmonization was needed, including on evidence, injunctions, and damages calculations. INTA will work with the EU Commission on how the newly adopted IP package can help in further addressing these issues.
Finally, the Europe office is raising awareness on the impact of counterfeiting in the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee’s 'Towards a Digital Trade Strategy' (nonbinding) report. INTA secured the inclusion of an amendment stressing figures on the impact of counterfeiting on jobs and tax revenues. The report, including this amendment, has been approved by the European Parliament during its plenary session on December 11‒14.
INTA Continues Working with the EU Commission and EUIPO on IP and Trade
The Europe Office has also been active on issues relating to trade, attending meetings with the EU Commission, and responding to the Commission’s requests for input on:
- The status of IPRs in third countries (namely Ecuador, China, Colombia, Peru, and Turkey);
- The future EU IP dialogues/working groups; and
- The implementation of free trade agreements with the above-mentioned third countries.
INTA has also prepared input on future “IP key Programs” handled by EUIPO, aimed at improving IPRs in China, Southeast Asia, and Latin America via concrete projects in collaboration with these countries.
For additional information about INTA’s activities in Europe, please contact Hélène Nicora, INTA’s Chief Europe Representative Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.
© 2017 International Trademark Association