Intellectual property rights are one of the driving forces of innovation and creativity and a key contributor to competitiveness and employment; product authenticity must not be conflated with product safety and product quality issues, the enforcement of intellectual property rights could also play a role in ensuring consumers’ health and safety; counterfeiting is generally linked with a black economy.
There is a certain level of tolerance among Europeans for the idea that IPR infringements could be considered legitimate, especially among the young generation, due to a lack of suitable knowledge of the rights they enjoy and the rules that they should not break. Law enforcement is essential with regard to the foreseeability of the law, and whereas it is of the utmost importance to find effective, proportionate and dissuasive means of enforcing IPR.
Welcomes the approach of depriving IPR infringers of their revenues by means of agreements between right-holders and their partners; supports the elaboration of memoranda of understanding as soft-law measures to fight against counterfeiting and supports the idea of developing such measures further among stakeholders; reminds the Commission that it is precluded by the 2003 Inter-Institutional Agreement from supporting self- and co-regulatory mechanisms where fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of expression, are at stake.
Welcomes the approach taken by the Commission to develop targeted awareness campaigns; believes that it is essential that the concrete consequences of IPR infringements for society as a whole, and for consumers and citizens individually, should be understood by all; believes that consumers should be better informed of what IPR consist of, and what can be done or not done with protected goods and content as foreseeability of the law is a precondition for its respect; calls on the Commission and the Member States to further develop awareness actions aimed at specific audiences and relevant markets. Asks the Commission to increase its efforts to put an end to extortion practices profiting from over-broad protection of vaguely defined intellectual property assets.