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European Commission - Press release

Intellectual property rights : Winners of "Hands off my Design" competition announced

Brussels, 1st February 2012 - Counterfeiting and piracy are a growing threat for the economy. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of registered cases at the EU borders of goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (IPR) increased from 26,704 to over 80,0001. Meanwhile, the creative industry estimates that piracy has cost the European music, movie, TV and software industry €10 billion and more than 185,000 jobs in 2008 alone. In order to draw attention to this phenomenon the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy launched an EU-wide contest named "Hands off my Design". Design students and professionals were asked to submit posters and videos that highlight the negative impact of counterfeiting and piracy on Europe's economy and society.

The Award Ceremony for this competition was held today in the European Parliament.

In his speech, Commissioner Michel Barnier, said:

"This competition is an important step in bringing the attention of policy makers and society to the complexity of intellectual property rights' protection. I am very pleased to see that young designers have engaged in it so enthusiastically. This year, I will be making important proposals in the field of IPR: some of the ideas expressed will be a useful contribution to our thinking".

The EU's Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) President, António Campinos, said:

“In the digital era, we need to find a fair way to remunerate artists, musicians, authors and film-makers. This competition represents the personal perspectives of designers working in every part of Europe. Whether or not everyone agrees with the messages, I am confident they will play a valuable role in helping to stimulate the kind of constructive debate on this issue that we need in the EU”.

The EU-wide "Hands off my Design" competition, which took place over the course of 2011, was aimed at both design students in third level colleges and professionals. In both categories, the posters and videos submitted from across Europe highlighted the implications of counterfeiting and piracy on Europe's economy and society. Almost 60 students and professional designers put forward proposals to an independent jury.

The prizes awarded by the jury in each category were € 8,000 (1st prize), € 2,500 (2nd prize) and € 1,500 (3rd prize).

The winners are:

In the category of design students:

1st Prize: Julien Moreau, from the ECV Atlantique School in France

2nd Prize: Nejc Levstik, from the Academy of theater, radio, film and television in Slovenia

3rd Prize: Lauri Särak, Daniel Levi Viinalass and Elmo Soomets, from the Tartu Art College in Estonia

In the category of professional designers:

1st Prize: Gergely Szőnyi and Tamás Helényi, Hungary

2nd Prize: Christoph Brehme, Italy

3rd Prize: Dimitris Haidas, Greece

All the winners were invited to Brussels, where they received their prizes from Members of the European Parliament who are active in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy (Edit Herzog, Antonio Masip Hidalgo, Andreas Schwab and Bill Newton Dunn), the Internal Market and Services Commissioner, Michel Barnier, and the President of OHIM, António Campinos.

Background information

The Competition

The event was organised by the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market and Services, with the assistance of the EU's Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM). It was also supported by Members of the European Parliament. It was endorsed by the Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media.

The winners were selected by an international panel including independent figures from the design industry and academia as well the stakeholders of the Observatory.

Following the competition, the videos and posters will be available to be used as potential marketing tools in campaigns highlighting the dangers of counterfeiting and piracy.

The videos will be posted on the following site:

The Observatory

The Observatory was created by the Commission in 2009 as a platform to facilitate cooperation and exchange of experiences between public and private stakeholders as well as enabling collection of data on the infringements of intellectual property rights within the EU.

OHIM, which is based in Alicante in Spain, is the only EU agency exclusively devoted to intellectual property (IP) matters. It administers Community trade mark and design rights, which are valid throughout the EU and is working closely with national IP offices to create an EU Trade Mark and Design Network. It also provides technical support and cooperation to the Observatory, based on a Memorandum of Understanding agreed with the Commission in April 2011. This is pending the adoption of a Regulation transferring the Observatory to the Office, which is due to be voted on at the European Parliament’s plenary session in February.

Counterfeiting and Piracy

Over the past ten years the global explosion in counterfeiting and piracy has become one of the most devastating problems facing world business. Twenty years ago, counterfeiting might have been regarded as a problem chiefly for the manufacturers of fashion wear, watches and expensive handbags. But nowadays, counterfeiters have broadened their production to include not only fake electrical appliances, car parts and toys, but also medicines. According to the most recent figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is estimated to have reached USD 250 billion in 2007. In 2010, EU customs officials intercepted more 80,000 shipments of counterfeited and pirated goods, with an estimated value of over €1 billion. This was almost double the number of shipments intercepted in 2009 .

More information:

Contacts :

Chantal Hughes (+32 2 296 44 50)

Carmel Dunne (+32 2 299 88 94)

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