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Intellectual property rights (IPR)

Intellectual property (IP) refers to the rights associated with creations of the mind like inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, and designs. IP is usually divided into two categories: copyright and industrial property. Industrial property rights include patents for inventions, trade marks, industrial designs, plant variety rights, and, of course, geographical indications. The holder of Intellectual property rights (IPR) has a legally recognized capacity to authorize and/or prevent others from acting in certain ways with respect to his/her intellectual property.

What is the EU policy on IPR in general?

On 16 July 2008, the European Commission adopted a Communication on an industrial property rights strategy to ensure Europe has a high quality industrial property rights system in the years to come. The EU needs IPR to protect its quality policy and innovations in order to remain competitive in the global economy and to fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

What types of IPR are most important for the agriculture sector?

The most important types of IPR in agriculture are geographical indications and Community plant varieties (CPV) rights. Protection granted by geographical indications focuses  on preventing misuse of names which could mislead consumers as to the origin of agriculture products and their quality or characteristics.

Useful links on IPR

European Union:


United Nations:




Search-engine for trade marks:


IP issues within EU funded projects: