The EU's new industrial strategy - adopted in March 2020 - recognises the need for intellectual property (IP) policy to help support and strengthen Europe's technological sovereignty and promote a global level playing field.

Within this framework, on 25 November 2020, the European Commission published a new Action Plan on Intellectual Property, a roadmap outlining the most urgent challenges in this area and the measures that will be gradually introduced to address them. Through the plan, the Commission intends to support companies - especially SMEs - to make the best use of their inventions and ensure benefits to the economy and society, setting 5 priority objectives and a series of key measures to achieve them:

  1. Improve IP protection, with an update of existing tools to make them fit for the digital age. Among the measures envisaged are the modernization of design and model protection developed in the EU, the strengthening of the protection of agricultural geographical indications, the invitation - addressed to Member States - to introduce a unitary patent system.
  2. Promoting the dissemination of intellectual property in SMEs, with measures to improve information and advice, also thanks to a new €20 million assistance scheme, financed for the first year by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Interested companies will be able to obtain co-funding of up to €1500 from mid-January 2021 for the review of intangible assets and the registration of trademarks and model rights in the EU. Companies carrying out the IP review will also be able to receive additional EU funding.
  3. Facilitating IP sharing, optimizing access to crucial intangible assets in times of crisis - as made clear by the Covid-19 pandemic; improving the infrastructure for copyright (e.g. updated information on right holders, terms and conditions), use of IP-protected data, licensing of essential patents.
  4. Combating counterfeiting and improving enforcement of IP rights by introducing tools within the Digital Services Act to facilitate cooperation between IP right holders, intermediaries (such as online markets) and law enforcement authorities.
  5. Improving the global level playing field by strengthening the EU's position as a global model for setting IP standards and responding to unfair practices by third country operators.

More information:

Commission adopts Action Plan on Intellectual Property

Action Plan on Intellectual Property - Questions and Answers

Tags: Flash news englishTrentino