As part of its Digital Single Market strategy, the European Commission has published a series of papers setting out its commitment to protection of intellectual property rights in an effort to encourage innovation and creativity.The Commission's proposals cover three main areas:

  • Stepping up the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, by tackling the 'big fish' through a 'follow the money' approach. The Commission proposes doing more by way of Memoranda of Understanding between rights holders and relevant intermediaries, such as those already in place with internet platforms and under discussion with the transport and payment industries; and the creation of a new IP markets watch-list which will identify online and physical markets that engage in or facilitate substantial infringements.
  • Providing greater legal certainty over enforcement of IP rights by giving national courts guidance on how they should interpret key provisions in the IP Enforcement Directive. However, many see this as a missed opportunity to overhaul the enforcement regime which has been in force for over 10 years and has been applied inconsistently between Member States.
  • Creating a fair and balanced system for licensing and enforcing Standard Essential Patents.

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