Brussels plans a watch list for marketplaces outside the EU that continuously offer platforms for the infringement on intellectual property, counterfeiting, or any forms of trademark and product piracy. This watch list is part of the Commission’s complex strategy for the IP enforcement, announced in 2017.
The focus will lie primarily on online platforms and marketplaces. The commission also plans to monitor the anti-counterfeiting actions of the responsible local authorities.
Brussels will not directly take action to enforce the IP rights of European brands on the foreign marketplaces. The function of the watch list is rather to educate consumers and raise awareness on the problem of counterfeiting and piracy. Furthermore, the list is supposed to encourage the operators of these marketplaces to take action against continuous counterfeiting.
Currently, the initiative is open for public commenting, which can be submitted online until the end of March, 2018. Even though raising the awareness on the damage that counterfeiting and piracy cause to the European innovative strength, economy, employment, and consumers is important, IP right owners cannot expect any immediate effect from this initiative.
It is still first of all the responsibility of brand owners to enforce their IP rights worldwide. In order to sustainably fight counterfeiting and piracy, the sole monitoring of online marketplaces is not enough. The factories where counterfeit goods are actually produced have to be identified, supply chains have to be made transparent –counterfeiting can only be combatted successfully by fighting on the ground. The final goal is always to “close down the factory”.
Source: European Commission Press Release
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