European IP rules brought into Irish law

7 Jul 2006

New EU rules that raise the standards of enforcement of intellectual property (IP) such as software and digital music have been transposed into Irish law, it emerged this afternoon.

The Minister for Trade and Commerce, Michael Ahern TD, said the new regulations will help in the fight against IP theft, in particular the illegal and widespread phenomenon of counterfeiting and piracy of goods.

“This type of theft places a huge burden and cost on industry and for Government it represents lost revenues to the Exchequer,” Minister Ahern said.

“Counterfeit products can present a real hazard to consumers, for instance of bogus drugs being peddled as the authentic product. Any means that provide an effective counter offensive to these practices are to be welcomed,” he said.

He said that given that Ireland is a common law jurisdiction in which the courts already enjoy wide-ranging discretionary powers, many of the measures provided in the EU regulations are familiar in an Irish context.

These measures include granting injunctions and issuing court orders to search premises and freeze assets.

He explained: “The novel aspects that are specifically provided for in the regulations are: the right for the claimant to seek a court order for disclosure of information from persons involved in infringing acts in terms of getting to the bottom of the transaction chain; the ability for the claimant to seek a court order to have goods recalled or destroyed at the expense of the infringer; and the possibility for the claimant to seek a court order to publish, at the defendant’s expense, the court judgment in the case.”

Minister Ahern said he was satisfied that the new regulations will help in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy: “Activities which it is estimated represent 7pc of global trade and cost legitimate rights holders billions of euro annually.”

By John Kennedy