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EU Council Adopts Conclusions on Future EU Intellectual Property Policy and the Revision of the Industrial Designs System

On the 10th November 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted a number of conclusions on key elements of a future EU intellectual property policy.

The Council has recognised that the promotion of European innovation and creativity has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be a key tool to rebuild the EU economy and contribute to a more sustainable economy in the digital age. The Council also stresses the importance of a strong, efficient, transparent and balanced system of IP protection as well as the need for a coherent overall strategy to ensure protection and fair access to innovation in the EU.

As for the non-patentability of plant or animal products exclusively obtained by means of essentially biological processes, the Council welcomes recent developments in this regard by the European Patent Organisation.

The Council also declared that it recognizes the need to strengthen Geographical Indication frameworks within the EU and that it is ready to consider the introduction of a system for sui-generis protection on agricultural products, based on an in-depth impact assessment of the potential benefits and costs.

The Council also encourages the European Commission to take concrete actions in order to tackle the issue of counterfeiting and piracy, including via the involvement of online platforms and other hosting provides.

Lastly, the Council has called on the European Commission to present proposals for the revision of the legal framework on industrial design protection, which revision should particularly address:

  1. the complementarity between the Community, national and regional design protection systems;
  2. the accessibility of these systems;
  3. the implications of the use of new technologies on design rights;
  4. the transit of infringing goods through EU territory even when such goods are not intended for ultimate placement on the EU market; and
  5. the protectability of component parts of complex products used for repair purposes under design law.

The Council’s conclusions on IP Policy may be accessed here.

Article written by Senior Associate Dr Terence Cassar and Legal Trainee Steve Vella.

For more information on Intellectual Property and related areas, please contact please contact Dr Ian Gauci and Dr Terence Cassar.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to impart legal advice and readers are asked to seek verification of statements made before acting on them