EU Intellectual Property Law and Policy

EU Intellectual Property Law and Policy

Elgar European Law series

Catherine Seville

Intellectual property (IP) is a crucial contributor to economic growth and competitiveness within the EU. This book offers a compact and accessible account of EU intellectual property law and policy, covering copyright, patents, designs, trademarks and the enforcement of rights. The author also addresses aspects of the free movement of goods and services, competition law, customs measures and anti-counterfeiting efforts.

Chapter 6: Intellectual Property and Free Movement of Goods

Catherine Seville

Subjects: law - academic, european law, intellectual property law


Intellectual property poses a particular challenge for the European Community. The protection of intellectual property is seen as an essential element in the success of the single market: ‘In our growing knowledge-based economies the protection of intellectual property is important not only for promoting innovation and creativity, but also for developing employment and improving competitiveness’.1 On the other hand, to create a genuine single market in Europe, restrictions on freedom of movement and anti-competitive practices must be eliminated or reduced as much as possible, whilst maintaining an environment favourable to innovation and investment. The difficulty is finding the correct balance between competing demands. 6.1 6.1.1 INTRODUCTION Overview of the Problem – Three Typical Cases The outline facts of three illustrative trade mark cases reveal some of the recurring problems which the Community faces in reconciling competing priorities. The legal aspects of all three cases will be discussed in more detail in what follows. Pharmaceuticals: Hoffmann-La Roche v. Centrafarm Valium, a tranquilliser belonging to the benzodiazepine family, was launched by Hoffmann-La Roche in 1963. It proved a huge therapeutic and commercial success. The first of the so-called ‘blockbuster’ drugs, it was the top-selling prescription drug during the 1970s, and achieved near-iconic status in popular culture. At its peak in 1978, nearly 2.3 billion pills were sold. Its fame as a cure for anxiety is still widespread, and the phrase ‘Take a Valium!’ is in general 1 EUROPA (portal site of the European Union): market/top_layer/index_52_en.htm. 310...

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