Brussels, 26 April 2006
Counterfeiting and piracy: Commission proposes criminal law provisions to combat intellectual property offences
The Commission has today adopted a proposal for a directive to combat
intellectual property offences that amends the proposal approved by it on 12
July 2005. It is thus responding to the Court ruling of 13 September 2005 in
Case C-176/03, according to which the criminal law provisions necessary for the
effective implementation of Community law are a matter for Community
Accordingly, the proposal for a Council framework decision to strengthen the
criminal law framework to combat intellectual property
been withdrawn and its provisions incorporated into the amended proposal for a
The proposed measures are designed to bring Member States’ criminal legislation more closely into alignment and to improve European cooperation so as to combat more effectively counterfeiting and piracy, which are frequently committed by criminal organisations, often pose a risk to health and safety, and seriously harm the interests of many sectors in the European economy.
The arrangements will have to be applied to all types of intellectual property right infringements. In the directive, all intentional infringements of an intellectual property right on a commercial scale, including attempting, aiding and abetting such infringements, are treated as criminal offences. The minimum sentence is a term of four years’ imprisonment where the infringement is committed under the aegis of a criminal organisation or carries a serious risk to the health and safety of individuals. The amount of the fine will have to be at least EUR 100 000 or EUR 300 000 where there is a link with a criminal organisation or any risk to health and safety. Member States may impose heavier penalties or fines.