eLearning course on customs enforcement of IPR

This eLearning course has been developed under the Customs 2013 Programme to fill the knowledge gap appearing with the new EU Regulation (No 608/2013, see page 15) on customs enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), applicable from 1st January, 2014.

There have been several important changes in the legislation that affect the way customs work on IPR enforcement. This short eLearning course contains all the key information you will need.

The course consists of approximately one hour of interactive material divided into five lessons as follows:

  • Course introduction – short guide on how best to use the eLearning course
  • Basics of IPR – explanation of the basic IPR concepts
  • IPR Enforcement Process – detailed description of the new process (including the process for small consignments and ex officio), the time lines, the responsibilities of each party and much more
  • Course summary
  • Assessment – interactive quiz on the content of the eLearning

For further information, please click here.

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Launch of survey on protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights outside the EU

The EU Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights has launched a survey among EU businesses and EU IP professionals who have an interest in the protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in non-EU countries. The Observatory is carrying out the survey on behalf of the EU Commission (DG Trade), which has carried out similar surveys in the past.

The purpose of the survey is to gather information from those involved with and interested in IP rights in non-EU countries, in order to build up a picture of the reality of IPR protection and enforcement in countries outside the EU.

The Observatory will collate the responses and send them to DG Trade, which will then use them, along with information from other sources, to put together analyses of the situation in non-EU countries.

DG Trade will also use this information to compile its own reports on the general IPR enforcement scene in non-EU countries, as well as the situation in individual countries. The survey will be one of the tools used to help improve the IPR enforcement scene in non-EU countries, so the views of EU businesses and EU IP professionals with experience or interest in this area would be particularly welcomed. 

To participate in this survey, please click here.

For further assistance on the survey, please email the EU Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights at: ObservatorySurvey@oami.europa.eu.

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New rules make it easier to confiscate counterfeited assets across the EU

Rules to make it easier for national authorities to freeze and confiscate crooks' assets across the EU were approved by Parliament on Tuesday, February 25.

The draft law requires member states to enable the confiscation of criminal assets following a final conviction. It will also enable the authorities to confiscate assets even if the suspect or accused person is ill or has flown, e.g. through in absentia proceedings.

The agreement should be formally approved by the Council in the coming weeks. Member states will have 30 months to transpose the directive into their national laws. Ireland will take part in these arrangements, while the UK and Denmark will not.

For further information, please click here.

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European citizens and Intellectual Property: perception, awareness and behaviour

“European Citizens and Intellectual Property” is the first EU wide study of its kind. It provides a comprehensive assessment of citizens’ perceptions of Intellectual Property (IP) and its infringements, both from a qualitative and quantitative point of view. The study, commissioned by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) acting through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, follows the release in September of a study carried out by OHIM and the European Patent Office showing that Intellectual Property Rights-intensive industries support around 76 million jobs in the EU, and generate 39% of all EU-wide economic activity.

The study is underpinned by a survey of 26,500 people aged 15 and over and it aims to provide independent and reliable data and serve as a baseline for future actions and policy-making.

Research reveals that European citizens value IP highly and fully acknowledge its contribution to social and economic wellbeing. However at individual level, European citizens express some tolerance for IP infringements, in certain cases.

The main findings are:

  • 96% of Europeans believe that IP is important because it supports innovation and creativity by rewarding inventors, creators and artists for their work;
  • 86% agree that protecting IP contributes to improving the quality of products and services;
  • 69% of those questioned value IP because they believe it contributes to the creation of jobs and economic well-being;
  • As a result, they condemn IP infringements;
  • An average of 34% of Europeans thinks that buying counterfeit goods can be justified to save money;
  • 38% say purchasing counterfeits can be justified as an act of protest against a market-driven economy;
  • 22% think downloading is acceptable when there is no legal alternative; and
  • 42% of Europeans think this is acceptable for personal use.

For more information and to read the study in full, please click here.

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EU IPR Helpdesk webinar on "IP and Software" in November

Interested in learning more about concepts of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and licensing practices in software?  The Helpdesk training team invites you to take part in a webinar on "IP and Software" scheduled to take place on Monday, 4 November 2013, 10.30-11.45 am (Luxembourg, GMT + 1).

As usual, participation in the webinar is free of charge. You will find all the details and the registration form in the webinar description in our event calendar - just click here.

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Annual UK IP crime report

The IP Crime Group, founded by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), has produced the IP Crime Report 2012/13. The Group brings together experts from industry groups, enforcement agencies and government to work in collaboration on the issues relating to IP crime.

The report highlights current and emerging threats surrounding counterfeiting and piracy, especially those conducted via the internet. The report also raises awareness around the diverse nature of fake goods especially those with a direct effect on consumer harm.

The report contains statistical data and enforcement activities from enforcement agencies such as trading standards, police and HM Revenue & Customs along with industry bodies.

To read the report in full and also to find more information on the previous reports, please click here.

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Protecting IPR: Customs detain €1 billion worth of fake goods at EU borders in 2012

EU Customs detained almost 40 million products suspected of violating intellectual property rights (IPR) in 2012, according to the European Commission's annual report on customs actions to enforce IPR.

This year’s report also gives statistics on the type, provenance and transport method of counterfeit products detained at the EU's external borders. Cigarettes accounted for a large number of interceptions (31%), miscellaneous goods (e.g. bottles, lamps, glue, batteries, washing powder) were the next largest category (12%), followed by packaging materials (10%). Postal and courier packages accounted for around 70% of customs interventions in 2012, with 23% of the detentions in postal traffic concerning medicines.

In terms of where the fake goods were coming from, China continued to be the main source. Other countries, however, were the top source for specific product categories, such as Morocco for foodstuffs, Hong Kong for CD/DVDs and other tobacco products (mainly electronic cigarettes and liquid fillings for them), and Bulgaria for packaging materials. Around 90% of all detained cases were either destroyed or a court case was initiated to determine the infringement.

To have more information and read the report in full, please click here.

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The new EU Customs Regulation published

The European Parliament has approved a new Regulation to give Customs authorities extended powers to detain counterfeit or pirated goods at the borders of the European Union. Regulation 608/2013, which repeals the current Regulation 1383/2003, concerns customs enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) and applies from 1 January 2014.

The new Customs Regulation could, in certain specific circumstances, apply to counterfeit or pirated goods in transit.   After such goods are detained, the consignee, consignor, the declarant or the holder of such goods, seeking their release, would be required to prove, in a court of law, that the counterfeit or pirated goods are destined for a country outside the EU market.

The new regulation includes infringements such as confusingly similar trade marks. It expands the list of protected rights to trade names, topographies of semiconductor products, utility models, devices to circumvent technological measures and non-agricultural geographical indications.

A simplified procedure for the destruction of goods infringing IPR will also be made mandatory in all Member States.

To access the regulation text, please click here.

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European Parliament vote on customs regulation to better enforce intellectual property rights

Nearly 115 million pirated and counterfeit products were discovered by customs authorities in the EU in 2011, some of which pose a risk to health and safety. One way to protect EU markets and consumers is to prevent such goods entering the EU and customs authorities are best placed to do that. On Tuesday, June 11, MEPs voted in favour of new rules to help customs better enforce intellectual property rights.

The new regulation sets down clear rules on the destruction of illegal and dangerous products entering or transiting the EU, but does not change intellectual property protection rules and does not concern non-commercial goods carried by people travelling.

For further information, please click here.

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China’s efforts to fight copyright infringement

In January this year Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan called for more efforts to fight copyright infringement and counterfeit products. Following a campaign against online piracy the authorities investigated more than 2,800 cases and withdrew certificates from at least 36 websites and companies. And earlier this month a man was sentenced to six months' imprisonment and fined 2,000 yuan ($320) for illegally publishing copies of the works of Mo Yan, winner of last year's Nobel Prize in literature.

NOAPIP released further details of 36 important copyright cases that it had fought in 2012. The most serious punishment handed out was an 11 year prison sentence while the highest fine was for 3.2 million yuan. The office said that in 2012, 5,331 copyright infringement cases had been solved and more than 40 million pirate items confiscated or destroyed.

For further information, please click here.

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