New action plan regarding Intellectual Property matters
We live in a period of significant progress in intellectual property, an area that generates many benefits for the EU economy. As a result, there is a need to further build on the existing strengths by upgrading the EU’s framework, where needed, and creating appropriate policies to support companies capitalise on their inventions and creations, whilst at the same time ensuring that the latter are serving the economy and society at large.
Therefore, on 25 November, The European Commission set out a new plan regarding intellectual property aiming to (i) enable Europe's creative and innovative industry to remain a world leader and (ii) accelerate Europe's dual green and digital transition.
Following the identification of several gaps and deficiencies in the protection of intellectual property rights, such as the fact that part of the EU’s intellectual property system remains too fragmented, with procedures that are complex, costly and that sometimes lack clarity, the action plan aims to improve the protection of intellectual property, increase its use by SMEs, facilitate the sharing of intellectual property in order to increase the technology in the industry, combat counterfeiting, improve enforcement of intellectual property rights and promote level playing fields worldwide.
Details of the new action plan are as follows:
1. Improving the protection of intellectual property:
- improving additional protection certificates for medicinal products and patented plant protection products;
- modernising the protection of industrial designs in the EU;
- strengthening the protection of agricultural, geographical indications, and additionally analysing the feasibility of a system of protection of geographical indications for non-agricultural products at EU level; and
- calling on the member states to rapidly introduce the unitary patent system in order to create a one-stop shop for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property.
2. Stimulating small and medium-sized enterprises to use intellectual property:
- The Commission proposes measures to improve information and advice;
- the implementation of a new financial assistance scheme with a budget of EUR 20 million, provided from EUIPO funds for the first year; and
- The Commission proposes measures to facilitate the use of intellectual property as a means of stimulating access to finance.
3. Facilitating the sharing of intellectual property:
- the goal is to protect intangible assets and improve access to essential intangible assets on which our economy and society depend;
- The Commission proposes measures to facilitate the sharing of critical intellectual property in times of crisis, ensuring the return on investment;
- improving the infrastructure regarding copyrights;
- mobilisation of data protected by intellectual property; and
- proposing ways to improve transparency and predictability in licensing essential patents for standards.
4. Combating counterfeiting and improving the enforcement of intellectual property rights:
- creating a set of EU tools to combat counterfeiting.
5. Promoting a level playing field worldwide:
- strengthening the EU’s position as an entity that sets global standards in the field of intellectual property; and
- intensifying the EU’s response to the unfair practices of third-country actors.
As a general note, adopting these measures to provide, on the one hand, effective tools for the marketing of intangible assets and, on the other hand, effective protection of intellectual property, with business support as the main goal and the prosperity of the economy and society in general as an indirect goal, represents an important step towards the EU's recovery and economic resilience, all the more so in the difficult times we continue to find ourselves in.