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Brussels, 16 July 2008

Industrial Property Rights: Commission launches strategy to drive innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace

The European Commission today adopted a Communication on a new industrial property rights strategy for Europe. Together with the creation of a Community patent and integrated patent jurisdiction, the Communication outlines a number of actions as the keystone to maintain a high quality industrial property rights system for the EU in the 21st century. It sets out to support inventors in making informed choices on the protection of their industrial property rights and calls for robust enforcement against counterfeiting and piracy. The Communication also aims to ensure that industrial property rights in Europe are of high quality and that they are accessible to all innovators, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Mr Charlie McCreevy, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services said: "This strategy will offer a springboard for European companies to compete in the global economy. Not only will it help inventors across Europe to protect their ideas with strong industrial property rights, but it will also provide a catalyst for cutting-edge inventions from companies of all sizes to become successful in the market. In addition, the Communication reinforces once more that the EU will strike hard at counterfeiting and piracy."

A strong industrial property rights system is a driving force for innovation, stimulating R&D investment and facilitating the transfer of knowledge from the laboratory to the marketplace. Along with the urgent adoption of the Community patent proposal and creation of an integrated EU-wide jurisdiction for patents, the actions proposed will ensure Europe has a high quality industrial property rights system in the years to come:

  • Effective enforcement on the ground against counterfeiting and piracy. This is reaching alarming levels with damaging effects to job creation in Europe and the heath and safety of consumers. In addition to improving coordination between key enforcement actors at a national level, the Commission will work towards effective cooperation between Member States in intelligence gathering and rapid information exchange on counterfeit and pirated goods. Furthermore, the Commission will help facilitate agreements involving both the public and private sector to crack down on blatant violations of intellectual property rights.
  • Ensuring high-quality industrial property rights in Europe that are accessible to all innovators, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To achieve this, the Commission will undertake studies on the quality of the patent system and on the overall functioning of the trademark systems in the EU. This would also include the Community trademark, which the Office for Harmonisation of the Internal Market has been successfully registering for over 10 years. .
  • Facilitating exploitation by SMEs of industrial property rights. The Communication outlines measures to facilitate access to industrial property rights and dispute resolution procedures, and to improve awareness among SMEs of the management of industrial property as an integral element within an overall business plan.

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