FAST gives a positive response to calls for greater enforcement role for international body
Push for more powerful enforcement support role for the EU’s Observatory for Infringements of Intellectual Property is welcome
Media reports have claimed that The Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) has reported that some respondents to a consultation it held earlier this year have expressed views that the Observatory should "enhance enforcement capabilities" in order to fight against infringers of intellectual property (IP).
Following the consultation, OHIM is now drafting a work programme, to be presented at an Observatory Plenary meeting in September. The programme will then go before the Administrative Board and Budget Committee in November for further consideration. The first implementations are expected to commence in March 2013.
Commenting on the OHIM review, Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel at FAST says: “IP theft occurs in all countries and often across borders, so greater concerted action to tackle piracy within the single market is very welcome – particularly in the collating and sharing of information that helps to secure success against infringers.”
“We welcome moves to bring together those in the know including national representatives, private sector experts and consumers. We are looking forward to the picture and trends emerging from data collected to show the scope and scale of the problem. Information sharing, best practices and strategy education, communicating a clear message are pieces of the success jigsaw. Active forums galvanise heats and minds when the fight can be slow and tedious”
“The more support cross border organisations have to garner software rights owners and national organisations to pursue instances of cross-border infringement, the better. But, enforcement remains a tough ask, and cost effective access to justice with minimal administrative burden must remain a priority on the ground”.
Robin Fry, Partner at DAC Beachcroft and member of FAST’s Legal Advisory Group (FLAG), added: “It's right that the EU should be focussing on better enforcement but more information-gathering by an observatory will only have minimal effect. If there is to be a step change then please give trade associations and other representative bodies, if mandated by their members, the right to bring infringement proceedings. We were expecting this eight years ago when the 2004 EU Enforcement directive first indicated this possibility but we are still waiting.”