In July 2008, the Commission adopted a Communication on a new industrial property rights strategy for Europe. The Communication outlines a number of actions to maintain a high quality industrial property rights system for the EU in the 21st century. It calls for robust enforcement against counterfeiting and piracy and aims to ensure that industrial property rights in Europe are of high quality and that they are accessible to all innovators, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises. The Communication includes copyright in order to present a coherent picture on the fight against piracy.
In September 2008, the Competitiveness Council adopted a Resolution on a comprehensive EU anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy plan. This Resolution endorsed the need to step up the fight against counterfeiting and piracy and called for the creation of a European Counterfeiting and Piracy Observatory (EOCP). The Observatory, whose overall goal is to produce continuous, objective assessments and up-to-date research that lead to exchange of best practice and knowledge gathering among policymakers, industry experts and enforcement bodies, was launched in April 2009; it was initially managed by the Enforcement Unit of DG MARKT, but in 2011 it was placed under the responsibility of the OHIM (Office for the Harmonisation of the Internal Market). In 2011, the EOCP contracted a think tank to develop a methodology and to assess the scope, scale and impact of counterfeiting and piracy in the internal market; the methodology was presented in October and is being tested in 2012. Meanwhile, the Commission decided to entrust the Observatory to the Office for the Harmonisation of the Internal Market (OHIM), due to its expertise and availability of resources. The regulation was adopted by the EP and the Council in February and March 2012, respectively; the Observatory, renamed Observatory on Infringements of IPR, will, among others, enhance understanding of the value of intellectual property, improve understanding on the impact of infringements of IPR, assist in raising citizens’ awareness of the impact of IPR infringements and develop training programmes for people involved in the enforcement of IPR, including in non EU countries.
In parallel, the Enforcement Unit also launched a Stakeholders’ Dialogue on illegal up- and downloading, to explore ways of collaboration between right holders and internet service providers to tackle the issue of online piracy. The Dialogue ran until mid-2010, when it was extended and renamed Stakeholders’ Dialogue on Online copyright infringements; the exercise was suspended by the European Commission in March 2011.
In September 2009, the Commission issued a Communication on enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market, putting forward practical, non-legislative measures to combat counterfeiting and piracy. This led the European Parliament to start an own initiative report on “Enforcement of IPR in the internal market” (rapporteur Marielle Gallo - EPP, France), which was adopted in September 2010. The Parliament also established a Forum on Combating Counterfeit, Contraband and Organised Crime.
In March 2010, the Competitiveness Council adopted another Resolution on the enforcement of IPR, stressing the need to protect intellectual property online. In April 2012, the Commission issued a Communication on the Single Market Act, a list of proposed measures to boost growth and strengthen confidence, which included effective enforcement of IPR as one of the recommended actions.