BETA


2008/2133(INI) Impact of counterfeiting on international trade

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead INTA SUSTA Gianluca (icon: ALDE ALDE)
Committee Opinion AFET
Committee Opinion IMCO RIIS-JØRGENSEN Karin (icon: ALDE ALDE)
Committee Opinion JURI LICHTENBERGER Eva (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 52, RoP 52-p4

Events

2009/04/22
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2008/12/18
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2008/12/18
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted, by 309 votes to 232 with 10 abstentions, a proposal for an alternative resolution from the Greens/ALE Group on the impact of counterfeiting on international trade.

The own-initiative report had been tabled for consideration in plenary by Gianluca SUSTA (ALDE, IT) on behalf of the Committee on International Trade.

The resolution adopted in plenary recalls that the European Union is the second world importer of goods and services. It has been estimated that international trade relating to Intellectual Property Rights infringements amounted to as much as EUR 150 billion in 2005. It also notes an increase in counterfeit products in the cosmetics and personal hygiene, toys and medicine markets.

In this context, Parliament states that counterfeiting and piracy has alarming consequences for the EU economy and for the Community social and economic system as a whole, reducing incentives to innovate, curbing foreign direct investment (FDI), eliminating skilled jobs from industry and laying the groundwork for the development of a hidden economic system, running parallel to the legal one and controlled by organised crime.

The multilateral framework : Parliament reaffirms its support for measures provided for by the WTO as well as the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). It calls on the Commission to persevere in the TRIPS Council to ensure that the minimum rules incorporated into national law are accompanied by effective enforcement measures and measures to prevent infringements. The flexibilities provided for in the TRIPS agreement and confirmed in the Doha Declaration on public health, should be maintained insofar as they are aimed at ensuring a fair balance between the interests of rights' holders and those of end users. The Commission should bring forward proposals to the European Parliament to ensure that export, transit and transhipment operations are appropriately dealt with in the TRIPS agreement and to examine the case for further changes in the agreement, in order to create a fair balance between the interests of owners and those of potential users of IPR, particularly bearing in mind the level of development of the parties involved and distinguishing between countries which produce counterfeit and pirated products, those which use them, and those through which the products transit.

Parliament calls on the Commission to introduce, along the same lines as set out in Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR), safeguards at international level in order to guarantee that any extra patent enforcement measures are not used to hinder legitimate trade. It also encourages the Commission and the Member States to strengthen their cooperation with Euro-Mediterranean partner countries within the Euromed Market Programme and promote in the Euro-Mediterranean region a common approach to legislation, procedures and implementation with regard to customs cooperation. Parliament is convinced that in order to step up the fight against counterfeiting, more regular and targeted use should also be made of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, which, together with the Community and national courts, can provide better protection of European industry and consumers by consolidating case-law which enhances the substance and scope of the TRIPS agreement.

Awareness raising : Parliament calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop specific measures, backed up by appropriate financial coverage, in favour of more widespread consumer education in Europe and also in developing countries, in order to avert the risks relating to potentially dangerous counterfeit products.

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and other bilateral and regional EU initiatives : Parliament welcomes the decision taken by the European Union, Japan and the United States on the opening of negotiations with a view to a new multilateral agreement designed to strengthen the enforcement of IPRs and combat counterfeiting and piracy (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - ACTA). It calls on the Parliament calls on the Commission and the Member States to negotiate ACTA under conditions of the utmost transparency towards EU citizens, especially with regard to the definitions of the terms "counterfeiting" and "piracy" and the criminal sanction measures foreseen. It supports the establishment of a task force to examine the implementation of the agreement, by promoting this subject in dialogue between the European Union and third countries and as part of cooperation measures with those countries. It stresses that in all intellectual property enforcement agreements foreseen, personal use, that is not for profit, must be distinguished from the fraudulent and intentional marketing of counterfeit and pirated goods.

Other targeted measures include are called for in the framework of the ACTA. Parliament considers that this agreement:

will not grant public authorities access to private computers and other electronic devices;

shall include emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil as well as regional trade blocs such as Mercosur, CARICOM and ASEAN; shall not overlap with the TRIPS agreement; shall only concentrates on IPR enforcement measures and not on substantive IPR issues such as the scope of protection, limitations and exceptions, secondary liability or liability of intermediaries; shall not be used as a vehicle for modifying the existing European IPR enforcement framework, but fully reflects the balance established by the different directives adopted by the European Parliament and Council in this field; should take into account certain strong criticism of ACTA in its ongoing negotiations, namely that it could allow trademark and copyright holders to intrude on the privacy of alleged infringers without due legal process, that it could further criminalise non commercial copyright and trademark infringements, that it could reinforce Digital Rights Management technologies at the cost of 'fair use' rights, that it could establish a dispute settlement procedure outside existing WTO structures and lastly that it could force all signatories to cover the cost of enforcement of copyright and trademark infringements.

In this context, Parliament calls on the Commission to ensure a continuous and transparent public consultation process, to support the benefits of such a process with all the negotiating countries, and to ensure that the Parliament is regularly and thoroughly informed about the state of play of the negotiations.

Parliament considers that it is not yet certain whether the EC Treaty provides a legal basis for Community measures prescribing the type and level of criminal penalties and that, as a consequence, the Commission may not have competence to negotiate on behalf of the Community an international agreement which specifies the nature and level of criminal-law measures to be taken against trademark and copyright violators.

It notes with regret that IPR protection in Turkey does not yet meet EU standards and therefore needs to be reviewed; points out that Turkey will only become a credible candidate for accession when it is in a position to take on the Community acquis and guarantee full respect for IPRs within its boundaries.

Other measures are also proposed in this context:

EU-China relations : given that 60% of the counterfeit goods seized by the customs authorities of the EU are produced in China, Parliament asks the Commission, together with the Chinese authorities, to present an action plan to fight counterfeiting as soon as possible. The Chinese authorities are requested to step up their efforts and take legal action with renewed energy against those who violate IPRs.

External support measures in the fight against counterfeiting : Parliament recommends that an effective monitoring mechanism be introduced with regard to possible infringements of IPRs that are protected under the various agreements, coupled with trade incentive tools as part of a specific commitment to the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

Regulatory and organisational issues : Parliament calls for greater commitment in the combating of counterfeiting and the harmonisation of existing laws in the Member States. The Commission, for its part, is called upon to investigate the health and safety risks related to counterfeiting in order to assess whether further measures are needed as well as to agree minimum sanctions in European criminal law for serious infringements of intellectual property rights . It is also necessary to develop appropriate ongoing training courses for customs staff, magistrates and other professionals concerned and to encourage the Member States to set up specialised anti-counterfeiting teams. Parliament insists on the need to mobilise all operators concerned to strengthen the effectiveness of instruments for combating counterfeiting and piracy in the internal market. It calls on the Member States to strengthen their customs teams on their national territories and put in place a service, identifiable to third parties (including Member States, third countries, Community institutions, businesses and individuals) responsible for combating counterfeiting and providing information on this problem.

Parliament calls on the Member States to develop, with the Commission, a common approach to the destruction of counterfeit goods .

Parliament recommends further improvement and better coordination of customs procedures in the European Union in order substantially to restrict access of counterfeit and pirated products to the single market. It also calls on the Commission to submit a proposal to Parliament and the Council to provide the European Union and its Member States with EU-level statistical data on counterfeiting.

The role of the European Parliament : in conclusion, Parliament calls on the Commission, in association with the Council and the Member States, to frame a policy that is clear, structured and ambitious, which, alongside internal customs, should coordinate and guide the "external" actions of the European Union and its Member States in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. It encourages the Commission to promote measures that are complementary to legislative standards and, in particular, to promote greater European awareness on the dangers of counterfeiting aimed at changing people's attitudes to counterfeiting and piracy. Parliament urges the Council and the Commission to enable the Parliament to play a more central role in the fight against counterfeiting . It calls on the Commission and Council to keep it fully informed and to involve it in all relevant initiatives.

Documents
2008/12/18
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2008/12/17
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2008/11/19
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2008/11/19
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2008/11/05
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The Committee on International Trade adopted the own-initiative report drafted by Gianluca SUSTA (ALDE, IT) on the impact of counterfeiting on international trade.

The report recalls that the European Union is the second world importer of goods and services and the extreme openness and transparency of its single market offers huge opportunities but also poses serious risks of an invasion of counterfeit products. In 2007, the amount of goods seized by the customs authorities of the European Union that were in breach of intellectual property rights (IPRs) increased by 17% against the previous year, with an increase of 264% for cosmetics and personal hygiene products, 98% for toys and 51% for medicines. Counterfeiting and piracy has alarming consequences for the EU economy and for the Community social and economic system as a whole, reducing incentives to innovate, curbing foreign direct investment (FDI), eliminating skilled jobs from industry and laying the groundwork for the development of a hidden economic system, running parallel to the legal one and controlled by organised crime.

The multilateral framework : MEPs recall that the Word Trade Organisation (WTO) system aims to ensure that IPRs are more widely recognised internationally, providing for an agreed level of standards of protection through the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), dialogue between Member States and with other institutions such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), as well as a dispute prevention and settlement mechanism. They call on the Commission to persevere in the TRIPS Council to ensure that the minimum rules incorporated into national law are accompanied by effective enforcement measures and measures to prevent infringements. The flexibilities provided for in the TRIPS agreement and confirmed in the Doha Declaration on public health, should be maintained insofar as they are aimed at ensuring a fair balance between the interests of rights' holders and those of end users. The Commission should br ing forward proposals to the European Parliament to ensure that export, transit and transhipment operations are appropriately dealt with in the TRIPS agreement and to examine the case for further changes in the agreement, in order to create a fair balance between the interests of owners and those of potential users of IPR, particularly bearing in mind the level of development of the parties involved and distinguishing between countries which produce counterfeit and pirated products, those which use them, and those through which the products transit.

The Commission and the Member States are called upon to:

develop specific measures, backed up by appropriate financial coverage, in favour of more widespread consumer education in Europe and also in developing countries, in order to avert the risks relating to potentially dangerous counterfeit products; propose and support the drafting of a protocol on counterfeiting, in addition to the Palermo International Convention on organised crime; to strengthen their cooperation with Euro-Mediterranean partner countries within the Euromed Market programme and promote in the Euro-Mediterranean region a common approach to legislation, procedures and implementation with regard to customs cooperation and action to combat counterfeiting and piracy in order to facilitate trade between Euro-Mediterranean partner countries.

The report points out that in several emerging economies, the production of counterfeit and pirated goods has reached alarming levels and calls for special measures are required in order to strengthen coordination between customs, judicial and police authorities with the countries concerned and to encourage the harmonisation of the laws of these countries with those of the European Union.

The Commission is called upon to introduce, in the same line of Article 3 (2)1 of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 2004/48/EC of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, safeguards at international level in order to guarantee that any extra patent enforcement measures are not abused to hinder legitimate trade.

In order to step up the fight against counterfeiting, MEPs are convinced that more regular and targeted use should also be made of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body, which can provide better protection of European industry and consumers by consolidating a case-law which enhances the substance and scope of the TRIPS agreement.

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and other bilateral and regional EU initiatives : the committee calls on the Commission to continue its fight against counterfeiting and piracy, in parallel with the multilateral negotiations, also by means of bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements with a view to approximating and enforcing laws, also by providing for the establishment of efficient dispute settlement systems and penalties in case of failure to comply with the obligations underwritten. ACTA should be negotiated under conditions of the utmost transparency towards the EU citizens, especially with regard to the definitions of the terms "counterfeiting" and "piracy" and the criminal sanction measures foreseen. MEPs support the establishment of a task force to examine the implementation of the agreement, by promoting this subject in dialogue between the European Union and third countries and as part of cooperation measures with those countries. ACTA will not grant public authorities access to private computers and other electronic devices. MEPs believe that emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil as well as regional trade blocs such as Mercosur, CARICOM and ASEAN should be included.

The Commission is called on :

to avoid the danger of contradictions and overlap between the ACTA, the TRIPS agreement and other international IPR treaties; to ensure that ACTA only concentrates on IPR enforcement measures and not on substantive IPR issues such as the scope of protection, limitations and exceptions; to ensure that ACTA is not used as a vehicle for modifying the existing European IPR enforcement framework; to clarify the role and competence of the Article 133 Committee and the other committees involved in the negotiation of the ACTA; to ensure a continuous and transparent public consultation process, and to support the benefits of such a process with all the negotiating countries, and to ensure that the Parliament is regularly and thoroughly informed about the state of play of the negotiations.

MEPs note with regret that IPR protection in Turkey does not yet meet EU standards and therefore needs to be reviewed. They point out that Turkey will only become a credible candidate for accession when it is in a position to take on the Community acquis and guarantee full respect for IPR within its boundaries.

EU-China relations : given that 60% of the counterfeit goods seized by the customs authorities of the EU are produced in China, MEPs ask the Commission, together with the Chinese authorities, to present an action plan to fight counterfeiting as soon as possible. The Chinese authorities are requested to step up their efforts and take legal action with renewed energy against those who violate IPRs.

External support measures in the fight against counterfeiting : MEPs recommend that an effective monitoring mechanism be introduced with regard to possible infringements of IPRs that are protected under the various agreements, coupled with trade incentive tools as part of a specific commitment to the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. They point out that the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) regulation also provides for the possibility of temporarily suspending preferences for those partners which implement unfair trading practices. In the event of particularly serious violations of intellectual property, such as cases constituting a serious threat to safety and public health, the use of such a deterrent should be taken into due consideration by the Commission. The Trade Barriers Regulation can also provide important assistance to European companies suffering from problems of third-country market access in relation to intellectual property (IP) infringements. Improved cooperation is needed between the European Union and the Member States in third countries to guarantee more effective exchanges of information, better use of available resources and a greater impact on measures to combat counterfeiting as regards both political-diplomatic action and more strictly technical aspects.

The Commission is called upon to make the ‘market access team’ in the EU delegations a tangible point of reference for Community companies (in particular SMEs) complaining of IP infringements.

Regulatory and organisational issues : MEPs note the Commission’s commitment to consolidate IP in the European Union and call for greater commitment in the suppression of counterfeiting and the harmonisation of existing laws in the Member States as well as the definitions of 'counterfeiting' and 'piracy'.

Member States are called upon to provide consumers with sufficient information on the dangers of counterfeiting and piracy , in particular the considerable health and safety risks which counterfeit products, including medicines, pose to consumers. The Commission, for its part, is called upon to investigate the health and safety risks related to counterfeiting in order to assess whether further measures are needed as well as to agree minimum sanctions in European criminal law for serious infringements of intellectual property rights .

MEPs stress the need to develop appropriate ongoing training courses for customs staff, magistrates and other professionals concerned and to encourage the Member States to set up specialised anti-counterfeiting teams. The report recommends further improvement and better coordination of customs procedures in the European Union in order substantially to restrict access of counterfeit and pirated products to the single market. MEPs take the view that a more effective suppression of counterfeiting should take due consideration of the prominent role that the Internet has acquired in marketing and promoting counterfeit and pirated products. They call also on the Commission to submit a proposal to Parliament and the Council to provide the European Union and its Member states with EU-level qualitative and statistical data on counterfeiting, in particular via the Internet . The Commission is requested to take account of the specific aspects of the use of the Internet and to measure its impact on the Member States' economies by developing statistical tools that can facilitate a coordinated response. A helpdesk for SMEs should be set up to give technical assistance on the procedures for dealing with counterfeit goods.

MEPs call on Member States to step up awareness-raising and information in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy in tourist areas and in trade fairs and exhibitions. Companies should be encouraged to protect their services and products by registering trademarks, designs, patents and so on in order to be able to better enforce their intellectual property rights.

According to the report, a scoreboard should be developed to measure Member States' customs performance in order to further the fight against counterfeiting, and to put in place a rapid information exchange network on counterfeit products, based on national contact points and modern information exchange tools. A common approach to the destruction of counterfeit goods.

The role of the European Parliament : MEPs urge the Council and the Commission to enable the Parliament to play a more central role in the fight against counterfeiting . They consider it particularly advisable for the EU to promote its political presence in specialist international meetings such as the Global Anti-counterfeiting and Piracy Congress, and in the international organisations involved in IP protection. Parliament calls on the Commission and Council to keep it fully informed and to involve it in all relevant initiatives. MEPs consider that ACTA should be ratified by the European Parliament under the assent procedure.

2008/11/04
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2008/10/21
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2008/09/25
   CSL - Resolution/conclusions adopted by Council
2008/09/25
   CSL - Council Meeting
2008/09/11
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2008/06/26
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2008/06/25
   EP - LICHTENBERGER Eva (Verts/ALE) appointed as rapporteur in JURI
2008/05/27
   EP - RIIS-JØRGENSEN Karin (ALDE) appointed as rapporteur in IMCO
2008/05/22
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2007/11/20
   EP - SUSTA Gianluca (ALDE) appointed as rapporteur in INTA

Documents

Activities

AmendmentsDossier
158 2008/2133(INI)
2008/09/11 INTA 107 amendments...
source: PE-412.022
2008/09/15 IMCO 33 amendments...
source: PE-412.194
2008/10/01 JURI 18 amendments...
source: PE-414.005

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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  • date: 2008-09-25T00:00:00 type: Resolution/conclusions adopted by Council body: CSL
  • date: 2008-11-05T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP summary: The Committee on International Trade adopted the own-initiative report drafted by Gianluca SUSTA (ALDE, IT) on the impact of counterfeiting on international trade. The report recalls that the European Union is the second world importer of goods and services and the extreme openness and transparency of its single market offers huge opportunities but also poses serious risks of an invasion of counterfeit products. In 2007, the amount of goods seized by the customs authorities of the European Union that were in breach of intellectual property rights (IPRs) increased by 17% against the previous year, with an increase of 264% for cosmetics and personal hygiene products, 98% for toys and 51% for medicines. Counterfeiting and piracy has alarming consequences for the EU economy and for the Community social and economic system as a whole, reducing incentives to innovate, curbing foreign direct investment (FDI), eliminating skilled jobs from industry and laying the groundwork for the development of a hidden economic system, running parallel to the legal one and controlled by organised crime. The multilateral framework : MEPs recall that the Word Trade Organisation (WTO) system aims to ensure that IPRs are more widely recognised internationally, providing for an agreed level of standards of protection through the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), dialogue between Member States and with other institutions such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), as well as a dispute prevention and settlement mechanism. They call on the Commission to persevere in the TRIPS Council to ensure that the minimum rules incorporated into national law are accompanied by effective enforcement measures and measures to prevent infringements. The flexibilities provided for in the TRIPS agreement and confirmed in the Doha Declaration on public health, should be maintained insofar as they are aimed at ensuring a fair balance between the interests of rights' holders and those of end users. The Commission should br ing forward proposals to the European Parliament to ensure that export, transit and transhipment operations are appropriately dealt with in the TRIPS agreement and to examine the case for further changes in the agreement, in order to create a fair balance between the interests of owners and those of potential users of IPR, particularly bearing in mind the level of development of the parties involved and distinguishing between countries which produce counterfeit and pirated products, those which use them, and those through which the products transit. The Commission and the Member States are called upon to: develop specific measures, backed up by appropriate financial coverage, in favour of more widespread consumer education in Europe and also in developing countries, in order to avert the risks relating to potentially dangerous counterfeit products; propose and support the drafting of a protocol on counterfeiting, in addition to the Palermo International Convention on organised crime; to strengthen their cooperation with Euro-Mediterranean partner countries within the Euromed Market programme and promote in the Euro-Mediterranean region a common approach to legislation, procedures and implementation with regard to customs cooperation and action to combat counterfeiting and piracy in order to facilitate trade between Euro-Mediterranean partner countries. The report points out that in several emerging economies, the production of counterfeit and pirated goods has reached alarming levels and calls for special measures are required in order to strengthen coordination between customs, judicial and police authorities with the countries concerned and to encourage the harmonisation of the laws of these countries with those of the European Union. The Commission is called upon to introduce, in the same line of Article 3 (2)1 of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 2004/48/EC of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, safeguards at international level in order to guarantee that any extra patent enforcement measures are not abused to hinder legitimate trade. In order to step up the fight against counterfeiting, MEPs are convinced that more regular and targeted use should also be made of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body, which can provide better protection of European industry and consumers by consolidating a case-law which enhances the substance and scope of the TRIPS agreement. Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and other bilateral and regional EU initiatives : the committee calls on the Commission to continue its fight against counterfeiting and piracy, in parallel with the multilateral negotiations, also by means of bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements with a view to approximating and enforcing laws, also by providing for the establishment of efficient dispute settlement systems and penalties in case of failure to comply with the obligations underwritten. ACTA should be negotiated under conditions of the utmost transparency towards the EU citizens, especially with regard to the definitions of the terms "counterfeiting" and "piracy" and the criminal sanction measures foreseen. MEPs support the establishment of a task force to examine the implementation of the agreement, by promoting this subject in dialogue between the European Union and third countries and as part of cooperation measures with those countries. ACTA will not grant public authorities access to private computers and other electronic devices. MEPs believe that emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil as well as regional trade blocs such as Mercosur, CARICOM and ASEAN should be included. The Commission is called on : to avoid the danger of contradictions and overlap between the ACTA, the TRIPS agreement and other international IPR treaties; to ensure that ACTA only concentrates on IPR enforcement measures and not on substantive IPR issues such as the scope of protection, limitations and exceptions; to ensure that ACTA is not used as a vehicle for modifying the existing European IPR enforcement framework; to clarify the role and competence of the Article 133 Committee and the other committees involved in the negotiation of the ACTA; to ensure a continuous and transparent public consultation process, and to support the benefits of such a process with all the negotiating countries, and to ensure that the Parliament is regularly and thoroughly informed about the state of play of the negotiations. MEPs note with regret that IPR protection in Turkey does not yet meet EU standards and therefore needs to be reviewed. They point out that Turkey will only become a credible candidate for accession when it is in a position to take on the Community acquis and guarantee full respect for IPR within its boundaries. EU-China relations : given that 60% of the counterfeit goods seized by the customs authorities of the EU are produced in China, MEPs ask the Commission, together with the Chinese authorities, to present an action plan to fight counterfeiting as soon as possible. The Chinese authorities are requested to step up their efforts and take legal action with renewed energy against those who violate IPRs. External support measures in the fight against counterfeiting : MEPs recommend that an effective monitoring mechanism be introduced with regard to possible infringements of IPRs that are protected under the various agreements, coupled with trade incentive tools as part of a specific commitment to the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. They point out that the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) regulation also provides for the possibility of temporarily suspending preferences for those partners which implement unfair trading practices. In the event of particularly serious violations of intellectual property, such as cases constituting a serious threat to safety and public health, the use of such a deterrent should be taken into due consideration by the Commission. The Trade Barriers Regulation can also provide important assistance to European companies suffering from problems of third-country market access in relation to intellectual property (IP) infringements. Improved cooperation is needed between the European Union and the Member States in third countries to guarantee more effective exchanges of information, better use of available resources and a greater impact on measures to combat counterfeiting as regards both political-diplomatic action and more strictly technical aspects. The Commission is called upon to make the ‘market access team’ in the EU delegations a tangible point of reference for Community companies (in particular SMEs) complaining of IP infringements. Regulatory and organisational issues : MEPs note the Commission’s commitment to consolidate IP in the European Union and call for greater commitment in the suppression of counterfeiting and the harmonisation of existing laws in the Member States as well as the definitions of 'counterfeiting' and 'piracy'. Member States are called upon to provide consumers with sufficient information on the dangers of counterfeiting and piracy , in particular the considerable health and safety risks which counterfeit products, including medicines, pose to consumers. The Commission, for its part, is called upon to investigate the health and safety risks related to counterfeiting in order to assess whether further measures are needed as well as to agree minimum sanctions in European criminal law for serious infringements of intellectual property rights . MEPs stress the need to develop appropriate ongoing training courses for customs staff, magistrates and other professionals concerned and to encourage the Member States to set up specialised anti-counterfeiting teams. The report recommends further improvement and better coordination of customs procedures in the European Union in order substantially to restrict access of counterfeit and pirated products to the single market. MEPs take the view that a more effective suppression of counterfeiting should take due consideration of the prominent role that the Internet has acquired in marketing and promoting counterfeit and pirated products. They call also on the Commission to submit a proposal to Parliament and the Council to provide the European Union and its Member states with EU-level qualitative and statistical data on counterfeiting, in particular via the Internet . The Commission is requested to take account of the specific aspects of the use of the Internet and to measure its impact on the Member States' economies by developing statistical tools that can facilitate a coordinated response. A helpdesk for SMEs should be set up to give technical assistance on the procedures for dealing with counterfeit goods. MEPs call on Member States to step up awareness-raising and information in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy in tourist areas and in trade fairs and exhibitions. Companies should be encouraged to protect their services and products by registering trademarks, designs, patents and so on in order to be able to better enforce their intellectual property rights. According to the report, a scoreboard should be developed to measure Member States' customs performance in order to further the fight against counterfeiting, and to put in place a rapid information exchange network on counterfeit products, based on national contact points and modern information exchange tools. A common approach to the destruction of counterfeit goods. The role of the European Parliament : MEPs urge the Council and the Commission to enable the Parliament to play a more central role in the fight against counterfeiting . They consider it particularly advisable for the EU to promote its political presence in specialist international meetings such as the Global Anti-counterfeiting and Piracy Congress, and in the international organisations involved in IP protection. Parliament calls on the Commission and Council to keep it fully informed and to involve it in all relevant initiatives. MEPs consider that ACTA should be ratified by the European Parliament under the assent procedure.
  • date: 2008-11-19T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2008-447&language=EN title: A6-0447/2008
  • date: 2008-12-17T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20081217&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2008-12-18T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=16339&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2008-12-18T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2008-634 title: T6-0634/2008 summary: The European Parliament adopted, by 309 votes to 232 with 10 abstentions, a proposal for an alternative resolution from the Greens/ALE Group on the impact of counterfeiting on international trade. The own-initiative report had been tabled for consideration in plenary by Gianluca SUSTA (ALDE, IT) on behalf of the Committee on International Trade. The resolution adopted in plenary recalls that the European Union is the second world importer of goods and services. It has been estimated that international trade relating to Intellectual Property Rights infringements amounted to as much as EUR 150 billion in 2005. It also notes an increase in counterfeit products in the cosmetics and personal hygiene, toys and medicine markets. In this context, Parliament states that counterfeiting and piracy has alarming consequences for the EU economy and for the Community social and economic system as a whole, reducing incentives to innovate, curbing foreign direct investment (FDI), eliminating skilled jobs from industry and laying the groundwork for the development of a hidden economic system, running parallel to the legal one and controlled by organised crime. The multilateral framework : Parliament reaffirms its support for measures provided for by the WTO as well as the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). It calls on the Commission to persevere in the TRIPS Council to ensure that the minimum rules incorporated into national law are accompanied by effective enforcement measures and measures to prevent infringements. The flexibilities provided for in the TRIPS agreement and confirmed in the Doha Declaration on public health, should be maintained insofar as they are aimed at ensuring a fair balance between the interests of rights' holders and those of end users. The Commission should bring forward proposals to the European Parliament to ensure that export, transit and transhipment operations are appropriately dealt with in the TRIPS agreement and to examine the case for further changes in the agreement, in order to create a fair balance between the interests of owners and those of potential users of IPR, particularly bearing in mind the level of development of the parties involved and distinguishing between countries which produce counterfeit and pirated products, those which use them, and those through which the products transit. Parliament calls on the Commission to introduce, along the same lines as set out in Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR), safeguards at international level in order to guarantee that any extra patent enforcement measures are not used to hinder legitimate trade. It also encourages the Commission and the Member States to strengthen their cooperation with Euro-Mediterranean partner countries within the Euromed Market Programme and promote in the Euro-Mediterranean region a common approach to legislation, procedures and implementation with regard to customs cooperation. Parliament is convinced that in order to step up the fight against counterfeiting, more regular and targeted use should also be made of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, which, together with the Community and national courts, can provide better protection of European industry and consumers by consolidating case-law which enhances the substance and scope of the TRIPS agreement. Awareness raising : Parliament calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop specific measures, backed up by appropriate financial coverage, in favour of more widespread consumer education in Europe and also in developing countries, in order to avert the risks relating to potentially dangerous counterfeit products. Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and other bilateral and regional EU initiatives : Parliament welcomes the decision taken by the European Union, Japan and the United States on the opening of negotiations with a view to a new multilateral agreement designed to strengthen the enforcement of IPRs and combat counterfeiting and piracy (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - ACTA). It calls on the Parliament calls on the Commission and the Member States to negotiate ACTA under conditions of the utmost transparency towards EU citizens, especially with regard to the definitions of the terms "counterfeiting" and "piracy" and the criminal sanction measures foreseen. It supports the establishment of a task force to examine the implementation of the agreement, by promoting this subject in dialogue between the European Union and third countries and as part of cooperation measures with those countries. It stresses that in all intellectual property enforcement agreements foreseen, personal use, that is not for profit, must be distinguished from the fraudulent and intentional marketing of counterfeit and pirated goods. Other targeted measures include are called for in the framework of the ACTA. Parliament considers that this agreement: will not grant public authorities access to private computers and other electronic devices; shall include emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil as well as regional trade blocs such as Mercosur, CARICOM and ASEAN; shall not overlap with the TRIPS agreement; shall only concentrates on IPR enforcement measures and not on substantive IPR issues such as the scope of protection, limitations and exceptions, secondary liability or liability of intermediaries; shall not be used as a vehicle for modifying the existing European IPR enforcement framework, but fully reflects the balance established by the different directives adopted by the European Parliament and Council in this field; should take into account certain strong criticism of ACTA in its ongoing negotiations, namely that it could allow trademark and copyright holders to intrude on the privacy of alleged infringers without due legal process, that it could further criminalise non commercial copyright and trademark infringements, that it could reinforce Digital Rights Management technologies at the cost of 'fair use' rights, that it could establish a dispute settlement procedure outside existing WTO structures and lastly that it could force all signatories to cover the cost of enforcement of copyright and trademark infringements. In this context, Parliament calls on the Commission to ensure a continuous and transparent public consultation process, to support the benefits of such a process with all the negotiating countries, and to ensure that the Parliament is regularly and thoroughly informed about the state of play of the negotiations. Parliament considers that it is not yet certain whether the EC Treaty provides a legal basis for Community measures prescribing the type and level of criminal penalties and that, as a consequence, the Commission may not have competence to negotiate on behalf of the Community an international agreement which specifies the nature and level of criminal-law measures to be taken against trademark and copyright violators. It notes with regret that IPR protection in Turkey does not yet meet EU standards and therefore needs to be reviewed; points out that Turkey will only become a credible candidate for accession when it is in a position to take on the Community acquis and guarantee full respect for IPRs within its boundaries. Other measures are also proposed in this context: EU-China relations : given that 60% of the counterfeit goods seized by the customs authorities of the EU are produced in China, Parliament asks the Commission, together with the Chinese authorities, to present an action plan to fight counterfeiting as soon as possible. The Chinese authorities are requested to step up their efforts and take legal action with renewed energy against those who violate IPRs. External support measures in the fight against counterfeiting : Parliament recommends that an effective monitoring mechanism be introduced with regard to possible infringements of IPRs that are protected under the various agreements, coupled with trade incentive tools as part of a specific commitment to the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. Regulatory and organisational issues : Parliament calls for greater commitment in the combating of counterfeiting and the harmonisation of existing laws in the Member States. The Commission, for its part, is called upon to investigate the health and safety risks related to counterfeiting in order to assess whether further measures are needed as well as to agree minimum sanctions in European criminal law for serious infringements of intellectual property rights . It is also necessary to develop appropriate ongoing training courses for customs staff, magistrates and other professionals concerned and to encourage the Member States to set up specialised anti-counterfeiting teams. Parliament insists on the need to mobilise all operators concerned to strengthen the effectiveness of instruments for combating counterfeiting and piracy in the internal market. It calls on the Member States to strengthen their customs teams on their national territories and put in place a service, identifiable to third parties (including Member States, third countries, Community institutions, businesses and individuals) responsible for combating counterfeiting and providing information on this problem. Parliament calls on the Member States to develop, with the Commission, a common approach to the destruction of counterfeit goods . Parliament recommends further improvement and better coordination of customs procedures in the European Union in order substantially to restrict access of counterfeit and pirated products to the single market. It also calls on the Commission to submit a proposal to Parliament and the Council to provide the European Union and its Member States with EU-level statistical data on counterfeiting. The role of the European Parliament : in conclusion, Parliament calls on the Commission, in association with the Council and the Member States, to frame a policy that is clear, structured and ambitious, which, alongside internal customs, should coordinate and guide the "external" actions of the European Union and its Member States in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. It encourages the Commission to promote measures that are complementary to legislative standards and, in particular, to promote greater European awareness on the dangers of counterfeiting aimed at changing people's attitudes to counterfeiting and piracy. Parliament urges the Council and the Commission to enable the Parliament to play a more central role in the fight against counterfeiting . It calls on the Commission and Council to keep it fully informed and to involve it in all relevant initiatives.
  • date: 2008-12-18T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
links
other
  • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/ title: Trade commissioner: ASHTON Catherine
procedure/dossier_of_the_committee
Old
INTA/6/62536
New
  • INTA/6/62536
procedure/legal_basis/0
Rules of Procedure EP 52
procedure/legal_basis/0
Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament EP 052
procedure/legal_basis/1
Rules of Procedure EP 52-p4
procedure/legal_basis/1
Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament EP 052-p2
procedure/subject
Old
  • 6.20 Common commercial policy in general
  • 6.40 Relations with third countries
  • 7.30.30.10 Action against counterfeiting
New
6.20
Common commercial policy in general
6.40
Relations with third countries
7.30.30.10
Action against counterfeiting
activities
  • date: 2008-05-22T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Foreign Affairs committee: AFET body: EP responsible: False committee: IMCO date: 2008-05-27T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: ALDE name: RIIS-JØRGENSEN Karin body: EP responsible: True committee: INTA date: 2007-11-20T00:00:00 committee_full: International Trade rapporteur: group: ALDE name: SUSTA Gianluca body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2008-06-25T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: LICHTENBERGER Eva
  • date: 2008-09-25T00:00:00 body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: Competitiveness (Internal Market, Industry, Research and Space) meeting_id: 2891
  • date: 2008-11-05T00:00:00 body: EP committees: body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Foreign Affairs committee: AFET body: EP responsible: False committee: IMCO date: 2008-05-27T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: ALDE name: RIIS-JØRGENSEN Karin body: EP responsible: True committee: INTA date: 2007-11-20T00:00:00 committee_full: International Trade rapporteur: group: ALDE name: SUSTA Gianluca body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2008-06-25T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: LICHTENBERGER Eva type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
  • date: 2008-11-19T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2008-447&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A6-0447/2008 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date: 2008-12-17T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20081217&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament body: EP type: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2008-12-18T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=16339&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2008-634 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T6-0634/2008 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
committees
  • body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Foreign Affairs committee: AFET
  • body: EP responsible: False committee: IMCO date: 2008-05-27T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: ALDE name: RIIS-JØRGENSEN Karin
  • body: EP responsible: True committee: INTA date: 2007-11-20T00:00:00 committee_full: International Trade rapporteur: group: ALDE name: SUSTA Gianluca
  • body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2008-06-25T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: LICHTENBERGER Eva
links
other
  • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/ title: Trade commissioner: ASHTON Catherine
procedure
dossier_of_the_committee
INTA/6/62536
reference
2008/2133(INI)
title
Impact of counterfeiting on international trade
legal_basis
stage_reached
Procedure completed
subtype
Initiative
type
INI - Own-initiative procedure
subject