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Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property

Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property

A Handbook of Contemporary Research

Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Christophe Geiger

This wide-ranging Research Handbook is the first to offer a stimulating and systematic review of the framework for criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights. If counterfeiting constitutes an ever-growing international phenomenon with major economic and social repercussions, potentially affecting consumer safety and public health, the question of which are the appropriate instruments to enforce IP rights is a complex and sensitive one. Although criminal penalties can constitute strong and effective means of enforcement, serious doubts exist as to whether criminal sanctions are appropriate in every infringement situation. Drawing on legal, economic, historical and judicial perspectives, this book provides a differentiated sector-by-sector approach to the question of enforcement, and draws useful conclusions for future legislative initiatives at European, international and national levels.

Chapter 10: Criminal liability for intellectual property infringement in Europe: the role of fundamental right

Jonathan Griffiths

Subjects: law - academic, criminal law and justice, intellectual property law


The relationship between fundamental rights and intellectual property has long been recognized. The rights to life and to health have been understood as relevant to debates about the patenting of biotechnological inventions and the right to freedom of expression has had an impact in both copyright and trademark law. The need to ensure the protection of fundamental rights in intellectual property law has been acknowledged both by the EU legislature and by the Court of Justice. However, the specific relationship between criminal sanctions in intellectual property law and fundamental rights protection has received little attention. It is my aim, in this Chapter, to make a preliminary survey of the role that legal protection for fundamental rights may come to play in criminal proceedings for infringement of intellectual property rights. The focus is upon Europe because, within Europe, there is both a highly developed framework of fundamental rights protection and a clear set of legislative proposals for the strengthening of criminal sanctions for intellectual property infringement.

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