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The Commission will soon present a European Strategy proposal on intellectual property rights. This communication on patents, marks, geographic indications and copyrights will present a global strategy explaining the way in which Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) may stimulate to a larger extent competition and economic growth based on knowledge. In the framework of this global strategy on IPR, the Commission will also propose a new custom’s regulation to reinforce the actual juridical framework of custom related actions in view of goods suspect of affecting IPR.

In addition to the way unitary titles on an EU level allow companies of all sizes to protect their innovations and reputation, the communication will also feature future plans to grant a more complete protection to innovation and expertise. It will also cover the protection of business-related secrets as well as geographic indications regarding non agricultural products such as Bohemian crystal.

Intellectual Property refers to different types of immaterial (intellectual) creations to which a set of exclusive rights apply. By virtue of intellectual property, proprietors enjoy certain exclusive rights on very different immaterial assets, such as literary, musical and artistic works (copyright), discoveries and inventions (patents) as well as words, expressions, symbols and designs (marks). In his political orientations for the Commission of September 2009, President José Manuel Barroso engaged the Commission to elaborate “a new strategy in respect of Intellectual Property Rights”. The modernization of intellectual property regimes in Europe are also included in the great priorities for the growth on a European level in the European Strategy 2020 and Act for a single market.

The role of the customs in the application of IPR at the EU borders is determined by European law. A regulation of the 2003 Council gives customs the right to seize products suspected of affecting certain intellectual property rights. It will also foresee that the right holders are notified of the customs’ actions and that they may decide to open a standard juridical procedure or come to an agreement to destroy the goods. The trade of merchandise infringing IPR cover many products; they cross the borders more and more by means of small quantity shipments. This Summer the Commission will publish its data in its annual report. The new challenges in the field of international trade, as well as the augmentation of quantities and categories of goods that are suspected of violating IPR have lead the Commission and custom administrations of the Member States to revise the Regulation. It is part of the Action Plan 2009-2012 prepared by the Commission and approved by the Council in 2009, to combat dangerous counterfeit products, organized crime and the globalization of counterfeiting and more in particular online selling of counterfeit products.

More information of the EU policy in the field of industrial property: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/index_en.htm