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European Commission publishes new strategy for Intellectual Property rights

The European Commission has published a comprehensive strategy for intellectual property rights which is intended to revamp the EU legal framework in order to adapt and modernise it to reflect technological changes, in particular the growing importance of online activities. The strategy sets out various short-term and long-term policy actions in various areas, including patents, trade marks, copyright and dealing with counterfeiting and piracy. In relation to copyright, the Commission’s short-term actions include publishing a proposal for a directive dealing with orphan works (a copy of which was published at the same time as the strategy); publishing a proposal for a legal instrument to create a European framework for collective management of copyright; and consulting on issues regarding online distribution of audiovisual works. Longer-term actions include considering the feasibility of creating a European copyright code. In relation to patents, the Commission has said that it will work to adopt the regulations necessary to create a unitary patent as quickly as possible, and will also take forward work on a proposed unified patent litigation system to accompany it. In the trade marks field, the Commission will present proposals to modernise the CTM Regulation (207/2009/EC) and the Trade Marks Directive (2008/95/EC) in the second half of 2011. Other initiatives include a study to assess the impact of differing national laws regarding trade secrets and “look-alike” products, scheduled for late 2012, and a proposal to replace the Customs Regulation (1383/2003), in relation to which a proposed revised regulation was published at the same time as the strategy document.

Practical Law Intellectual Property Update 01.06.2011