Posted by Stephen Welfare, Partner
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
European Commission Adopts IP Action Plan
On 1 July the European Commission (EC) adopted an Action Plan to address infringements of commercial scale intellectual property (IP) rights in the European Union (EU) and a strategy for the protection and enforcement of IP rights in countries that are not EU members.
As the EC points out, IP infringements are any breaches of intellectual property rights or illicit misappropriation of trade secrets, where intellectual property refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, as well as symbols and names and images used in business.
Generally speaking IP is divided into two categories; industrial property, such as patents for inventions, trademarks and industrial designs and geographical indications and copyright, which cover literary works, films, music, artistic works and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright also include those of artists for their performances, producers for their recording and broadcasters for their radio and TV programmes.
The EC’s Action Plan focuses on the fight against commercial scale IP infringements because they do the most harm to the European economy. Goods and services that are sold in Eastern Europe often do not respect IP rights and this should be the concern of all Europeans, whether consumers, business owners or taxpayers.
The Action Plan therefore sets out 10 new enforcement policy tools for IP. It also stresses the need for all stakeholders involved in the value chain for any IP-intensive product to apply due diligence to avoid infringement. The aim is to stimulate growth and employment in the EU and reduce incentives for people to commit commercial scale IP abuse.
The actions set out in the Action Plan will be launched and carried out this year and next. The Commission will then monitor the delivery of the initiatives and consider at a later stage whether further, potentially legislative, measures are necessary.