INTA, Other Associations Push for Fighting IP Crime in EUROPOL 2022–2025 Priorities

Published: April 14, 2021

As EUROPOL—the European Union’s law enforcement agency—prepares its strategic priorities for the 2022–2025 EU Policy Cycle, INTA and 14 other associations are urging that combating intellectual property (IP) crime be included among them. The group cites the strong, negative impact of counterfeiting on the EU economy, the dangers of organized crime, and other reasons for the inclusion.

EUROPOL is currently identifying priorities for its European multidisciplinary platform against criminal threats (EMPACT).

Fighting IP crime was a priority in EUROPOL’s 2013–2017 policy cycle following successful advocacy and mobilization by private and public IP authorities. This specifically targeted organized crime involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit goods that violate health, safety, and food regulations and produce substandard goods.

However, the current EMPACT 2018–2021 priorities do not include IP crime or counterfeiting as environmental crime was deemed a higher priority.

Against that backdrop, and in close cooperation with the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights and its network, INTA reached out to other IP associations to help reinstate fighting crimes against IP as a strategic priority in the next EMPACT cycle.

INTA has been working through its Anticounterfeiting Committee on this effort during the past year.  Among Committee members, Veronica Floroiu (Milcev Burbea, Romania), João Jorge (RCF PROTECTING INNOVATION, Portugal), and Bartosz Krakowiak (Polservice, Poland) made great efforts to reach out to officials at the national level.

INTA secured the signatures of 14 other IP associations, both national and regional, to support the Observatory’s own effort and paper. The co-signatories are the following:

The group wrote a joint email to the respective EU member states’ authorities supporting the Observatory’s paper and highlighting the following reasons to include fighting IP crime among its anti-crime priorities:

  1. Growing evidence, notably from EUROPOL itself, of the involvement of organized crime groups in the infringement of IP rights and the link between IP crime and other crimes;
  2. Strong negative impact of counterfeiting and piracy on the EU economy, translating into loss to gross domestic product, the decrease in job creation, and the negative impact on SMEs notably;
  3. Risks counterfeits/fake products pose to the health and safety of citizens (for instance, the dangers of fake toys, medicines, spare parts, and cosmetics), even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic, given the sale, notably by organized crime groups, of fake masks, tests, and vaccines;
  4. Environmental damage resulting from the production, use, and disposal of counterfeit products.

On April 12, EUROPOL published its Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment, the 2021 SOCTA report on its crime priorities, which does include a chapter on IP crime, but IP crime is not part of the priority list.

In terms of process, it is now up to the EU Council (EU27 member states), “relying on the analytical findings of the SOCTA 2021 and considering other strategic papers, assessments and policies,” to decide on the priorities in the fight against serious and organized crime for EMPACT from 2022 to 2025. In other words, the SOCTA report is one (and arguably a big one) of the several reports that the Council will base its final decision upon to set the priority list.

The next steps are:

  • April 16: Informal Meeting of the EU27 representatives in charge of EMPACT
  • April: Draft Council conclusions on setting EU crime priorities for EMPACT 2022–2025
  • June 7–8: Council conclusions on setting EU crime priorities for EMPACT 2022–2025

For more information on this issue, please contact Maysa Razavi, INTA Anticounterfeiting Manager or Hadrien Valembois, INTA Policy Officer.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. 

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