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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Enforcement of intellectual property rights

An efficient and effectively enforced intellectual property infrastructure is necessary to ensure the stimulation of investment in innovation and to avoid commercial-scale intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements that result in economic harm. The European Commission’s aim is to ensure that this infrastructure allows creators and inventors in the EU to reap appropriate returns from welfare-enhancing innovation for EU citizens.

What the Commission is doing

Legal instruments, such as the Directive on Enforcement, already exist in the EU to prevent the infringement of intellectual property rights. But to make them more effective, the Commission is seeking stronger cooperation between authorities at all levels in the fight against intellectual property infringement, and is working to prevent infringing activity from undermining growth and sustainable employment in the EU.

The Directive on the Enforcement of IPR

The Directive on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights ('IPRED') such as copyright and related rights, trademarks, designs or patents was adopted in April 2004.

The directive requires all EU countries to apply effective, dissuasive, and proportionate remedies and penalties against those engaged in counterfeiting and piracy, and aims to create a level playing field for right holders in the EU. It means that all EU countries will have a similar set of measures available for right holders to defend their intellectual property rights.

Guidance on the Directive on the Enforcement of IPR

Following the evaluation of IPRED (see below), in November 2017 the Commission adopted, as part of the IP package, the guidance communication clarifying the provisions of IPRED where there have been differing interpretations in EU countries. These might be related to its scope, rules on obtaining and preserving evidence, injunctions, or calculation of damages. The guidance is based on ruling by the EU Court of Justice and best practice developed in EU countries.