Monday, September 23, 2013

The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights

Readers in Europe may already be quite familiar with this, but I'm guessing that many readers elsewhere are not.  

In 2009, the European Commission (EC) launched something called the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy, which (according to the EU Single Market:  Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights webpage) was  intended to "bring[ ] together representatives from Member States administrations, private industry and consumer or­ga­ni­sa­tions to improve efforts to com­bat a rising problem that threat­ens consumer health and safety, business, jobs and national and local economies." The Observatory's own webpage is here.  The Observatory's Legal Sub-Group compiled several reports on matters such as "Damages in Intellectual Property Rights", "Injunctions in Intellectual Property Rights", and "Cross border measures in EU," all of which are downloadable from the preceding webpage.  (Subgroup member Ann-Charlotte Söderlund also published a paper titled Damages in IPRED and in Sweden in the 2/2012 issue of the Italian journal Il Diritto Industriale, pages 147-53.  IPRED is the acronym the subgroup used, for “Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive,” for what I usually refer to as the 2004 E.C. Enforcement Directive, text of which can be found here.)  Much of the Observatory's work appears to have focused on counterfeiting issues, as its name suggests, but (having taken a very quick look at the Legal Sub-Group's reports on damages and injunctions), the reports also provide concise but useful information on practices in each of the E.U. member states relating to damages and injunctions in patent as well as in copyright and trademark cases.

In 2012, the Observatory was renamed the Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights and its work was entrusted to OHIM (the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market), which has its own website devoted to the renamed Observatory, here.  I don't know why the EU continues to maintain the earlier website, instead of having OHIM merge the two into one, but there it is.

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