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EU Says Cooperation Needed to Fight IP Theft, Piracy

by Chris Brook on Monday November 30, 2020

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A new EU Commission paper says there's work to be done when it comes to protecting intellectual property across Member States.

The EU Commission is calling for more cooperation between rights holders, suppliers, intermediaries, payment services, and other authorities, when it comes to fighting piracy and intellectual property theft across the European Union.

In a paper released last week, the Commission, an executive branch of the European Union, stressed that the capacity of law enforcement has to be strengthened and that attention needs to be paid to counterfeiting and piracy. To do so, the EU Commission is pushing for Member States and Council to include IP among the priorities of the next EU Policy Cycle.

The Commission is also encouraging stakeholders to reach out to Europol to improve their “overall threat assessment and to foster effective and coordinated action against IP crime.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, no surprise, has made the EU's reliance on IP - and securing it - more critical.

“The COVID-19 crisis has illustrated EU’s dependence on critical innovations and technologies,  and reminded Europe of the importance of effective IP rules and tools to secure a fast deployment of critical IP,” the paper reads.

The paper highlights the influx of new IP across EU states – it points out that from 2010 to 2019, the number of European patents granted increased from 58,000 to 137,000. With those numbers of course has come an uptick in theft. Citing a 2018 PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the scale and impact of industrial espionage and theft of trade secrets through cyber, the EU Commission says that the theft of trade secrets accounts for roughly EUR 60 billion of losses in the EU; that's not to mention the damage counterfeit and pirated goods have cost the region, more than double that figure.

In addition to broadening the capacity of law enforcement, the paper, which was directed to the European Parliament and European Council, calls for a number of other improvements around accessing and protecting IP.

Better promoting cybersecurity awareness and skillful IP management could help diminish the economic impact of trade secret theft, the EU Commission maintains. With that in mind, the Commission says its set on working with stakeholders on developing tools to boost awareness around trade secret theft and guidance to enhance the resilience of businesses.

One area the Commission says needs attention is to IP that originates in non-EU countries but affects European markets that could be vulnerable to theft, espionage, and misappropriations.

"Member States should also pay particular attention to the effective protection of IP in critical technologies to ensure our resilience in strategic sectors," the paper reads.

As the EU Commission points out, IP continues to be the lifeblood of organizations; IP theft can cost US firms up to $600 billion a year according to the Theft of Intellectual Property Commission. Having a solution in place and a robust plan designed to safeguard these assets at organizations is an essential way to prevent data theft.

Tags:  IP theft

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