EU adopts new strategy to fight counterfeiting

The European Commission has adopted a recommendation on strategic initiatives to curb counterfeiting activities, both online and offline, and strengthen intellectual property rights.

The EU ‘toolbox’ of measures aims to foster collaboration between rights holders, service providers, and law enforcement while encouraging best practices and the use of modern tools and technologies.

It spans measures to boost cooperation and information sharing and IP enforcement procedures, providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with tools to better protect their assets, and building IP awareness, training, and education among stakeholders including market surveillance authorities, customs, police and public prosecution services.

Among the recommendations are the designation of a single contact point for IP enforcement matters at the Commission, extending the use of the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) Enforcement Portal, and technological measures including the use of artificial intelligence for IP monitoring, using blockchain for supply chain traceability and content recognition systems to detect counterfeiting and pirated goods.

It also includes a commitment to review sanctions for IP offences and dispute resolution processes,  addressing issues like mirror websites with dynamic injunctions , and greater use of the IP scan enforcement voucher, a flagship initiative under the SME Fund aimed at bolstering capabilities in IP rights management and enforcement.

“The fight against counterfeiting is a crucial element in safeguarding our innovative landscape,” commented Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president for the EU’s A Europe Fit for the Digital Age programme. “The only way forward is for member states to coordinate and cooperate at the same time for this to work.”

Over the next three years, the Commission, with the support of the EUIPO, will monitor the initiative’s impact and implementation. It is a companion to the EU Digital Services Act (DSA), which was adopted to combat illegal content such as counterfeiting and piracy.

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