EC cracks down on counterfeiting and piracy

The European Commission (EC) has proposed reforms to the EU's intellectual property (IP) rights regime which would force member states to incorporate best practice into their regulations against counterfeiting and piracy

The EC's proposed directive would require all EU governments to provide for injunctions halting the sale of counterfeit or pirate goods, undertake precautionary seizures of suspected offenders' bank accounts, grant evidence-gathering powers for judicial authorities and adopt powers to force offenders to pay damages to right holders. It would also require member states to criminalise all serious infringements of IP rights. European ministers and Members of the European Parliament have also been asked to approve an EU regulation harmonising the power of customs authorities over imported counterfeit goods.

European Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolke-stein said: “Pirates and counterfeiters are in effect stealing from right holders the fair payment they deserve for their work. If we don't stamp that out, the incentives for industrial innovation and cultural creativity will be weakened.”