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Intellectual property

Intellectual property

In our increasingly knowledge-based economies, the protection of intellectual property is important for promoting innovation and creativity, developing employment, and improving competitiveness. The European Commission works to harmonise laws relating to industrial property rights in EU countries to avoid barriers to trade and to create efficient EU-wide systems for the protection of such rights. It fights against piracy and counterfeiting and aims to help businesses, especially small businesses, access and use intellectual property rights more effectively.

The importance of intellectual property

Intellectual property rights (IPR) protect a firm's intangible assets, allowing enterprises to profit from their creative and broadly innovative activities. Intangible assets account for more than half the value of companies and their importance is growing. In a world where EU companies compete more on innovation, creativity and quality than on price, intellectual property is a powerful tool for EU enterprises to become more competitive. The Commission has designed a legal framework and intellectual property system that offer incentives for EU companies to invest in the provision of goods and services with high standards of quality, innovation, design and creativity.

Intellectual property rights strategy in Europe

As announced in the single market strategy and digital single market strategy, on 29 November 2017 the Commission adopted a comprehensive package of measures to further improve the application and enforcement of IPR, and to step up the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

With this package the Commission addressed  issues related to judicial enforcement, and looked more broadly at the potential and added value of industry-led initiatives, the roles of public authorities and how to fight IP infringements within the EU, at our borders and internationally.

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What the Commission does

The Commission aims to empower businesses to access and use intellectual property rights more effectively. It

Other Commission services dealing with intellectual property rights