EURIM Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights

Introduction and Terms of Reference

Meeting Details, Agendas, Tabled Papers and Minutes

Group Outputs (Papers and Briefings)

Other Relevant Documents & Links

Useful Websites

Archive of Previous Group Activities (1997 - 2000)

 

 

Introduction and Terms of Reference

IPR has now emerged as the key enabler of economic welfare as the knowledge economy develops.  

Group Objectives:

To promote constructive and informed political debate on the issues around intellectual property in the digital age.   IPR has emerged as a key issue in achieving a successful knowledge economy.  It is therefore essential to support a fair and robust IPR regime across Europe to protect investment and foster competition.

Outcomes sought by the Group, 2005-2006

  •  To ensure that UK Parliamentarians are adequately briefed to progress these issues in line with official counterparts in DTI and Treasury and fully appreciate the importance of IPR to UK businesses..

  • To brief parliamentarians on the main IPR issues and reinforce the importance of robust IPR enforcement for business software.
  • To identify the issues raised by the proposed supplementary Enforcement Directive which advocates Criminal Sanctions for intentional IP infringements and communicate them to parliamentarians, both in the UK and the EU.
  • To monitor the progress of the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property in the UK and provide input if necessary. 
  • To encourage communication and co-operation between all party groups and other trade associations in the area of IPR and ensure duplication of effort is minimised.

Priorities for 2006

Gowers Review

The group will continue to monitor the European Commission's outputs on revised proposals for the Enforcement Directive (Criminal Sanctions) which are expected in spring.  The group will also monitor the progress of the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property in the UK.  The Gowers Review is an independent review requested by the Treasury and led by Andrew Gowers to examine the UK's Intellectual Property framework.  The purpose of the Review is to ensure that the current IP framework meets the needs of businesses and individuals and continues to encourage them to invest in innovation and research for the benefit of the UK economy, which is becoming increasingly reliant on IP as we move towards a knowledge driven economy.  The Review has started with a formal Call for Evidence.  Explanatory papers and links are below.

A number of EURIM members will be responding to the Gowers Review and we will hold a round table workshop towards the end of the consultation period to allow players to exchange information on the concerns being raised and the ideas being put forward in their submissions.  The objectives of this are twofold:- firstly to progress discussions outside the Review in some of the parallel exercises currently underway and secondly to inform any follow-up activity that may prove necessary in the light of the review  (for instance informing parliamentarians of the results of the review, the positions, players and the implications of any resultant changes to the UK Intellectual Property Regime.  

Review of the Copyright Tribunal

This is a much smaller exercise than Gowers and mainly covers the mechanics and governance of the Tribunal itself, rather than broader policy issues such as the controversial area of copyright levies and DRM.  The Tribunal's main function is to decide terms and conditions of the licenses or licensing schemes offered by collective licensing bodies (usually known as Collecting Societies) when disagreement arises between these bodies and their licensees.   The Tribunal was originally established to prevent any abuse of the potentially monopolistic position of the collecting societies.   

Intellectual Property Rights in Geographical Data (Geodata)

There is growing debate over the business models for providing access to spatial data - particularly when it has been collected at taxpayers' expense.  for instance, Google aim to provide open access to geodata, challenging copyright-based models (such as the UK) where charges to users defray the cost oft eh data collection.  Will the success of the free access model cause the global market for geodata to shift way from countries like the UK or expand the market for value-added services?

 

Summary of Activity During 2005

During 2005, two particular issues were raised by members for EURIM's attention, both concerning the Enforcement Directive.  The first was the implementation of the existing EU Enforcement Directive in the UK.  EURIM sought feedback from the Patent Office on the consultation which was generally uncontroversial.  Many of the organisations who responded to the consultation felt that it was a timely opportunity to reinforce the importance of fair and robust IPR enforcement.  For instance, in business software 27% of the UK and 35% of the EU software market is currently pirated.  The second issue raised by EURIM members concerned the proposed Supplementary Enforcement Directive which introduced criminal sanctions for deliberate IP infringements without the necessary clarification of terms like "piracy" "counterfeiting" and "intentional".  Both industry and open source communities were united in their concern about the effects of this Directive. EURIM prepared a position paper on this proposed Directive during workshops in late 2005. In December 2005 the proposed Supplementary Directive was withdrawn and the group shelved its activity on this topic pending further announcements from the Commission.

Priorities and activities during 2004 

The Group's objectives during 2004 were to:

  •  To produce a briefing paper for Parliamentarians covering the life-span of IPR from R&D to library deposit, which reflects the balance of argument and opinion of a wide-range of stakeholders in this area.

  •  To produce a briefing paper for MEPs on proposals for the Computer implemented inventions Directive, joint with Intellect;

  • To encourage communication and co-operation between all party groups and other trade associations in the area of IPR and ensure duplication of effort is minimised.

Progress During 2004

During 2004 the working group identified its primary concerns as the Enforcement Directive and the Computer Implemented Inventions (CII) Directive, both of which had major implications for business.  A further underlying problem was identified - the lack of understanding of Intellectual Property Rights, both among parliamentarians and the wider public.  

General IPR Briefing  It was agreed that there was an urgent need for  briefing material for Parliamentarians and the group therefore prepared an overview of Intellectual Property and collated relevant material that would be of use.  This is available in draft form here.

Computer Implemented Inventions;  Work on the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive was also agreed and was conducted in co-operation with Intellect.  A short briefing paper giving background information on the CII Directive and setting out some basic facts on patents was circulated prior to the second reading of the Directive in the European Parliament in early 2005. 

Developments relating to the CII Directive moved very quickly during 2004 and 2005, lobbying was intense from both the industry and the open source community, and the end result was that the Directive was abandoned.  Harmonisation of patent law across the EU has therefore not been achieved.

Industry was content with this outcome on the basis that, had the Directive been adopted with the amendments proposed by the Parliament, they believed that it would have been very damaging for R&D operations and placed European industry at a disadvantage in a global market.  This compromise of no Directive  rather than a bad Directive was acceptable to them.  The open source community was strongly opposed to the original Directive and was concerned that the Parliamentary amendments, which they had requested, would be removed in the final version.  They too, therefore, preferred a compromise with no Directive rather than what they felt was a bad Directive.  Obviously the definition of a Bad Directive varies dramatically depending on whether you take the industry or the open source  point of view.

EURIM produced a very short summary of the issues, available here.

Links and references to the CII Directive are available below.

Enforcement Directive:  At the Group's meeting in December 2004 it was agreed that there were no issues relating to the Enforcement Directive that were not being adequately addressed by other groups.  The Working Party therefore agreed to keep a watching brief on this area. During 2005 two issues have emerged.  Firstly the implementation of the Enforcement Directive in the UK finished its consultation process on the 26th September. Secondly a supplementary Enforcement Directive is proposed by the Commission which introduces criminal sanctions for IP infringements.  During Autumn 2005 and Spring 2006 the group will therefore review the implementation of  the current Enforcement Directive and then explore the important issues raised by the proposed supplementary Directive. 

 

Meeting Details, Agendas, Tabled Papers and Minutes

Group Outputs (Papers and Briefings)

Other Relevant Documents & Links

Working Drafts (Restricted Access)

Archive of Previous Group Activities

EURIM's IPR Working Group was active between 1997 and 2000 on a different set of topics.  The group examined the draft Software, Database and Copyright Directives. The Copyright Directive rapidly became its primary focus as it made its passage through the European approvals process.  The WP worked closely with the officials who represented the UK at the regular meetings of member states as EURIM was one of the few involved organisations able to present a "neutral" approach to some very controversial issues.

The Archive section includes group outputs in the form of papers, minutes and related documents. 

Useful Websites

Title and URL

Description

Intellectual Property (UK government IP website)

www.intellectual-property.gov.uk

This website is an excellent source of information on the different kinds of IP and has links to relevant organisations.

UK Patent Office

www.patent.gov.uk

The UK Patent Office has responsibility for policy and legislative developments in the area of IP.  Their website is an excellent source of information on all aspects of IP, plus a number of relevant links.

Chartered Institute of Patent Agents (CIPA)

www.cipa.org.uk

CIPA is the professional body for patent agents in the UK.  Although its title refers only to Patents, CIPA members also act in Trade Marks, Designs and Copyright,.  Trade Mark Attorneys may belong to CIPA

Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA)

www.itma.org.uk

The professional body for Trade Mark Attorneys in the UK. It plays a significant role in promoting the importance of registering trade marks - extending the protection offered by registration and increasing the benefits it brings.  ITMA was established in 1934.

Trade Marks, Patents and Designs Federation (TMPDF)

www.tmpdf.org.uk

The Trade Marks, Patents and Designs Federation represents the Intellectual Property interests of many British-based industrial companies, both large and small 

Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

http://www.arbitrators.org

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators is a professional organisation for arbitrators, mediators and adjudicators.

World Intellectual Property Organisation

www.wipo.int

The World Intellectual Property Organisation was set up in 1967 to promote the protection of intellectual property through co-operation between states and collaboration with other relevant international organisations.

European Commission Industrial Property webpages

www.europa.eu.int

The European Commission's Europa Website gives access to the latest developments within the European Commission on IP related issues, including papers, press releases, communications and decisions.

Patents4Innovation Campaign Website

www.patents4innovation.org

This site is the product of collaboration between a number of EICTA members concerned about the amendments proposed by the Parliament to the CII Directive 
FFII Campaign Website

http://swpat.ffii.org

An alternative perspective from the anti patent lobby. A blow-by-blow account can be found at http://kwiki.ffii.org/SwpatcninoEn

These are only a few of the links available to IP related organisations.  For a more extensive list of links and relevant documents please contact emma.fryer@intellectuk.org