Intellectual property rights: customs enforcement
On 3rd July the European Parliament (EP) adopted the report (397 for, 259 against, 26 abstentions), drafted by Jürgen Creutzmann, on behalf of Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), at the Plenary in Strasbourg.
In their “Communication from the Commission, Europe 2020. A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. (COM(2010) 2020)”, released on 3rd March 2010, the Commission emphasised the importance of innovation, for growth and jobs, and that Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) were fundamental to this key priority if the European Union (EU) were to benefit in full from all research, innovation and creative activities. An increase in the number of IPR infringements, plus the resulting trade in infringing goods, were of growing concern and were exacerbated by a globalised economy. The problem was now becoming extremely serious as in addition to the detrimental economic consequences for industry (it is estimated that piracy and counterfeiting cost European businesses €250 billion each year) the infringing products may also pose serious health and safety risks to consumers. “In 2010, 14,5% of the total amount of detained articles were products for daily use and products that would be potentially dangerous to the health and safety for consumers (i.e. foods and beverages, body care articles, medicines, electrical household goods and toys).” (Creutzmann Report)
However, although customs authorities are in a relatively good position to enforce IPRs at the external borders of the EU, before the goods enter the internal market, once within the Single Market it is very difficult and costly to trace infringing goods, and to initiate proceedings, as they pass across the borders of different Member States. “The importance of improved customs enforcement of IPR is underlined by the fact that, between 2009 and 2010, the number of registered cases of counterfeiting and piracy almost doubled. In 2010, customs registered 79,112 cases, as compared to 43.572 in 2009. Online sales in particular caused a spectacular increase of detentions in postal traffic by 200%, where most cases concerned clothing, shoes and electrical goods and 69% of the goods detained were medicines.” (Creutzmann Report) It is for this reason that the Commission in its Communication of 13 April 2011: “Single Market Act (COM(2011) 206)” noted that customs authorities should be able to provide greater protection for IPRs through revised legislation. Thus as part of its IPR strategy, the European Commission propose to revise Regulation (EC) 1383/2003, to strengthen the enforcement of IPR by customs authorities as well as to improve legal clarity, by adapting the provisions of the current Regulation to new developments. This revision of the Regulation was also included in the Customs Action Plan 2009-2012 which has been endorsed by both the Council, and the Single Market Act.
Committees asked for an opinion were the Committee on International Trade (INTA) and the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI). On the 26th January IMCO adopted the report (20 for, 2 against, 1 abstention), drafted by Jürgen Creutzmann, recommending amendments to the Commission's proposal in the following areas:
Goods in transit:
Submission of applications:
Processing of applications:
Suspension of the release of the goods or their detention:
Sharing of information and data between customs authorities:
Destruction of goods and initiation of proceedings:
Specific procedure for the destruction of goods in small consignments:
Exchange of data on decisions relating to application for action between the Member States and the Commission:
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Last Updated (Monday, 30 July 2012 09:55)