Busy Summer for the Europe Office
With the EU institutions closing for the summer recess in late July, activities in the Brussels “EU Bubble” (and indeed throughout Europe) have been more quiet than usual—but are by no means at a standstill.
EU-U.S. Trade Relations and IP
Between July 11 and 15, EU and U.S. trade negotiators met for the 14th round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). On July 13, Milesh Gordhandas, Advisor, Europe Office, attended a presentation of various industry and civil society stakeholders as well as the briefing by the chief negotiators. According to the report published by the European Commission on August 4, further discussions are needed in the area of border enforcement, and the importance of the protection of geographical indications was reiterated as being a key priority by the EU.
On July 14, Hélène Nicora, Representative Officer – Europe, attended the 11th Annual Stakeholder Meeting of the Transatlantic IPR Working Group. The meeting was an opportunity for stakeholders to help shape the agenda of the Working Group with relevant officials from the EU and the U.S. global bodies, such as the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which attended as well. The main items discussed included the recent study on the global trade in illegal counterfeits by the OECD and the EU Observatory on IPR Infringements; the need to find compelling narratives to raise awareness outside the IP community; the integrity of global supply chains; reinvigorating the debate on IP at the World Trade Organization TRIPS Council; and how to further raise IP awareness with SMEs (part of a chapter in the TTIP).
Customs Enforcement of IPR
On July 12, Huib Berendschot (AKD, The Netherlands), member of the Anticounterfeiting Committee—EU Subcommittee, attended the 4th annual meeting of EU Customs, rights holders, and stakeholders. This meeting took place within the framework of the EU Customs Action Plan to combat IPR infringements (2013–2017). One of the objectives of this action plan is to effectively implement and monitor the EU regulation (608/2013) on customs enforcement of IPR, which entered into force at the start of 2014. The meeting of July 12 enabled an exchange of views between customs officials and rights holders on the achievements and areas of improvement of the new regulation. Implementation of the provisions on counterfeit goods in transit from substantive trademark law (namely the EU Trade Mark Regulation and the Trade Marks Directive) was also discussed. Mr. Berendschot was accompanied by Ms. Nicora.
Promoting Trademark Law to Law Students
On July 16, Mr. Gordhandas attended an annual summer reception hosted by the European Law Students Association (ELSA), where ELSA members and guests bid farewell to the association’s outgoing International Board and welcomed the incoming one. On August 2, Mr. Gordhandas met formally with three officers from ELSA’s new International Board, including the President. The meeting was an introduction to INTA—in particular its academic activities and student membership—and an opportunity to keep ELSA’s new leaders abreast of the cooperation between ELSA and INTA, which began in 2008.
EUIPO Survey on European Cooperation Project
On August 5, 2016, INTA answered a survey about the European Cooperation Project ECP4 on Convergence Analysis, to better identify possible areas for convergence between EUIPO and EU national IP Offices, on which new projects can be launched.
INTA CEO Visits Brussels
On July 11 and 12, INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo traveled to Brussels and was accompanied by INTA Europe Office staff at a number of meetings. They met with the Head of Unit, Intellectual Property and Fight Against Counterfeiting, DG GROW at the European Commission, for an exchange of views on the current IP priorities of the Commission and the future challenges ahead. They also met with representatives from the Martens Centre think tank and the Founder of Think Young, and explored possibilities to communicate about IP beyond the IP community. Additionally, Mr. Sanz de Acedo met with journalists from Politico Europe and Agencia EFE for background discussions on a number of matters, including the EU Digital Agenda, 3D printing, the value of IP, the impact of “Brexit” on IPRs, and INTA’s 2017 Annual Meeting, which will take place next May in Barcelona, Spain.
For more information on the activities of the INTA Europe Office, contact Christina Sleszynska, Chief Representative Officer – Europe (details here). To keep updated on developments follow @INTABrussels on Twitter.