Research Handbook on Cross-border Enforcement of Intellectual Property
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Research Handbook on Cross-border Enforcement of Intellectual Property

Edited by Paul Torremans

The Research Handbook on Cross-border Enforcement of Intellectual Property systematically analyses the unique difficulties posed by cross-border intellectual property disputes in the modern world. The contributions to this book focus on the enforcement of intellectual property primarily from a cross-border perspective. Infringement remains a problematic issue for emerging economies and so the book assesses some of the enforcement structures in a selection of these countries, as well as cross-border enforcement from a private international law perspective. Finally, the book offers a unique insight into the roles played by judges and arbitrators involved in cross-border intellectual property dispute resolution.
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Chapter 6: Cross-border enforcement of intellectual property: The European Union

Olivier Vrins and Marius Schneider


In the European Union (EU), the concept of ‘cross-border’ enforcement unmistakably brings with it some confusion. To which borders are we, indeed, referring to? In a Single Market of the kind which characterizes the EU, the inter-state frontiers have lost a great deal of their significance: the Member States have dismantled substantially all controls over movement of goods (and, albeit to a lesser extent, services) across their borders with the other Member States, to form a customs union. The EU operates through a scheme of independent supranational institutions, which have developed a standardized system of laws. The twenty-eight Member States have only delegated part of their sovereignty to those institutions, however; subject to some exceptions, they retain full authority over their judicial systems and in criminal matters, for example. In such an internal market, national borders are, obviously, all but artificial. To enforce rights granted in one or more Member States – be it as a result of some legislative instrument adopted at EU level – in others may thus prove challenging. This chapter will, therefore, deal with the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) not only as between the EU Member States, on the first part, and non-EU countries, on the second part, but also across the EU. The law and practice on the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the EU reflects, in many respects, the complexity and diversity of the EU itself.

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