Intellectual property rights rules to change in Europe


24 May 2011

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The European Commission is to revamp the legal framework in which intellectual property rights (IPR) operate with the aim of promoting creativity and innovation.

The objective is to enable inventors, creators, users and consumers to take advantage of new business opportunities.  

The Commission believes the existing mix of European and national rules are no longer adapted and need to be modernised.

The new rules will strike the right balance between promoting creation and innovation, in part by ensuring reward and investment for creators and, on the other hand, promoting the widest possible access to goods and services protected by IPR.

The strategy deals with many issues to ensure IPR is covered comprehensively – from the patent a business needs to protect an invention to tackling the misuse of such inventions.

Among the first deliverables of the strategy are today’s proposals for an easier licensing system for so-called "orphan works" that will allow many cultural works to be accessible online, and for a new regulation to reinforce customs actions in fighting trade of IPR infringing goods.

"Ensuring the right level of protection of IPR in the single market is essential for Europe’s economy. Progress depends on new ideas and new knowledge," said Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier.

"There will be no investment in innovation if rights are not protected. On the other hand, consumers and users need to have access to cultural content, for example, online music, for new business models and cultural diversity to both thrive.

"Our aim today is to get the balance between these two objectives right for IPR across the board. To make Europe’s framework for intellectual property an enabler for companies and citizens and fit for the online world and the global competition for ideas."