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 7: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

Catherine Seville

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


For intellectual property rights to be effective, they need to be enforced. Remedies must be quickly and cheaply available. The environment is no longer simply a national one. The economic value of protected products is enormous. Piracy and counterfeiting is a major trade, with many operations highly organised and professional. With global trading, any deficiencies in enforcement methods are highlighted and exploited. In some countries, piracy has been rampant, and even condoned at government level. The scale of unauthorised use of intellectual property is therefore very considerable, and appropriate methods are needed to combat this. 7.1 TRIPS Before the TRIPS Agreement, international intellectual property rules were to be found largely in WIPO Treaties, such as the Paris and Berne Conventions. Although these had (and have) considerable merits as harmonising instruments, they were well understood to have significant shortcomings with regard to the enforcement of rights. Detailed rules providing for the enforcement of rights in national courts simply did not exist. Nor was there any mechanism for establishing that states were in breach of their obligations, or for resolving disputes at state level. This was the background to the Uruguay Round of GATT. Although the inclusion of intellectual property in the negotiating mandate was a significant step forward, very considerable challenges still remained to be overcome. The text was signed at Marrakech in 1994 and entered into force on 1 January 1996. It is probably the most significant achievement in international intellectual property law of the twentieth century. TRIPS sets normative...

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