Intellectual Property at the Crossroads of Trade

Intellectual Property at the Crossroads of Trade

ATRIP Intellectual Property series

Edited by Jan Rosén

The book comprises thoughtful contributions on varying commercial aspects of IP, from parallel imports of pharmaceuticals to exhaustion of rights, and from trade in goods of cultural heritage to regulation of goods in transit. There is detailed discussion of licensing, including cross-border elements, online licensing, and the potential for harmonisation in Europe. This precedes a multi-layered analysis of the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

Chapter 5: The need to harmonize intellectual property licensing law: a European perspective

Jacques de Werra

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


The key role of intellectual property in the shaping of a successful innovation policy has been duly identified in Europe as well as in many other parts of the world: intellectual property constitutes an important component of the regulatory architecture supporting a competitive knowledge-based economy. This role has been confirmed in numerous official European Union (EU) documents and statements, particularly in the Communication of the EU Commission of 24 May 2011, which states that ‘European IPR legislation must provide the appropriate “enabling framework” that incentivises investment by rewarding creation, stimulates innovation in an environment of undistorted competition and facilitates the distribution of knowledge’. The European Commission even expressed the view that ‘IP is the capital that feeds the new economy’. This focus on intellectual property should, however, not hide the fact that intellectual property rights (IPRs), as well as the intellectual property regulations which protect them, cannot perform miracles by themselves and cannot fully achieve the declared goal of feeding the new economy if IPRs, as commercial assets, cannot be put to efficient use by third parties with the authorization of the IP owner. This was duly confirmed by the European Commission, which stated that a ‘better use of IP portfolios by means of licensing and commercial exploitation is central to successful business models’.

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