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Brussels, 14 December 2009

Intellectual Property Rights: Member States and the Commission mobilise to fight counterfeiting and piracy

Member States and the European Commission meet in Stockholm today (December 14 th 2009), under the umbrella of the European Observatory for Counterfeiting and Piracy, to build on practical initiatives to respond to the increasing threat of counterfeiting and piracy in the EU. Launched by Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy last April, the Observatory will work on existing legal frameworks and establish a databank on the specific areas of threat facing the EU. The meeting, hosted by the Swedish Presidency, is a major step on a collaborative effort that is being developed by Member States and the Commission.

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: " The EU is a world pacesetter for innovation, culture and creativity. It is time to put a stop to organised criminals freeloading on the ingenuity and hard work of the most resourceful businesses in the world. Counterfeiting and piracy is an affliction that is bringing criminality ever closer to our doors. It destabilises our societies and threatens public safety and jobs. More than this it places our hard earned money into the hands of criminals who have no conscience about using it to fund other forms of crime, including drugs and pornography. We must do more to protect ourselves and the Observatory is a fundamental step in bringing together Member States authorities, private businesses and consumers in a joint, concerted effort to rid ourselves of this dangerous problem."

Intellectual property rights promote creativity and competition, which in turn generates a cycle of greater opportunity, knowledge and wealth. Counterfeiting and piracy weaken our position, putting creators, business, jobs and consumers at risk through an ever expanding range of fake products and services. The result is a damaging impact on society, through greater criminality and a real threat to health and safety.

The Commission aims to ensure that a truly efficient and proportionate system of enforcement of intellectual property rights exists, both within and outside the internal market. The current legal framework offers the tools to enforce intellectual property rights in a fair, effective and proportionate way, but there is an acute need to support enforcement efforts through practical non legislative means.

Private business has already shown its support and now Member States have committed themselves to supporting the Observatory and fostering administrative cooperation across Europe, through the creation of a designated network of National Coordinators.

The Commission is also building stronger coalitions between stakeholders to overcome conflicts and disputes. These could become the foundation for best practice at global level and include Voluntary arrangements to tackle concrete problems such as the sale of counterfeit goods and services over the internet.

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