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Commission Report: Status of IP Rights in Third Countries

Post Time:2023-05-24 Source:EUIPO Author: Views:

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement remains a major concern due to varying reasons, including a lack of political will, inadequate resources, and limited technical infrastructure according to a recent report by the European Commission.

The biennial Report on the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in third countries also identifies so-called ‘priority countries’ in which the state of IPR protection and enforcement is a source of major concern where the Commission will focus its efforts and resources.

China remains the top priority country for the EU according to the report, while India and Türkiye continue as priority two countries. Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Thailand remain priority three countries.

The report highlights that legal uncertainties, diverging applications of the law, and forced technology transfer practices continue to plague the high-tech sectors in some third countries, discouraging foreign investment and placing foreign operators at risk of losing their competitive advantage.

These issues, combined with a lack of protection for trade secrets, are causing significant harm to European businesses. In addition, weak coordination among enforcement authorities, ineffective penalties for IPR infringements, and a lack of public awareness about the value of IPRs all contribute to the problem of weak IPR enforcement.

Beyond these challenges, the report also points at deficiencies related to: forced technology transfer; low levels of protection of trade secrets; backlogs in patent and trade mark registrations; restrictive patentability criteria; concerns on regulatory data; ineffective collective rights management; and deficiencies in the protection of plant varieties and geographical indications.

The report also focuses on the various EU-funded technical cooperation programmes in third countries that are implemented by the EUIPO, in cooperation with the European Commission. These programmes aim to tackle many of the issues highlighted in the report by strengthening IPR protection and enforcement in third countries and to assist EU rights holders seeking IPR protection in those countries. This includes IP Key cooperation programmes in China, South-East Asia and Latin America as well as AL-INVEST Verde which focuses on Latin America, AfriPI in Africa and CARIPI in the Caribbean region.

The Third Country Report is part of the European Commission's efforts to strengthen the protection and enforcement of IPR in third countries. It is based on a targeted consultation and extensive research on IPR protection and enforcement by the EUIPO Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.