In this Communication, the European Commission discusses the goal of making the
most out of the EU’s innovative potential. Therefore, it sets out an intellectual
property (IP) action plan to support the European Union, covering how to capitalise on
Europe’s intellectual assets to help recovery, how to better protect IP, the promotion
of the effective use and deployment of IP, in particular by SMEs, and of easier access to
and sharing of IP-protected assets. The Communication also covers the topic of IPR
infringements and fair play at global level, regarding the protection of IPRs.
The EU already has a vigorous intellectual property (IP) framework. However, the
Communication states the necessity of developing strengths “by upgrading the EU’s
framework, where needed, and putting in place well-calibrated IP policies to help
companies capitalise on their inventions and creations, whilst at the same time
ensuring that inventions and creations are serving economy and society at large”.
The Communication identifies five challenges: (a) An IP system that is too fragmented
“with procedures that are complex and costly and that sometimes lack clarity”; (b) the
high numbers of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and researches that do
not make full use of the opportunities offered by IP protection; (c) the tools meant to
facilitate access to IP (and therefore allow the take up and diffusion of technologies)
are not developed well enough; (d) counterfeiting and piracy are still growing,
including through digital technologies; (e) a lack of fair play at global level.