IPR & Patents
Intellectual property Rights Patents – A definition
“The legal rights granted with the aim to protect the creations of the intellect. These rights include Industrial Property Rights (e.g. patents, industrial designs and trademarks) and Copyright (right of the author or creator) and Related Rights (rights of the performers, producers and broadcasting organisations).”
Source: European Commission
European Commission (EC)
In our increasingly knowledge-based economies, the protection of intellectual property is important for promoting innovation and creativity, developing employment, and improving competitiveness. The European Commission works to harmonise laws relating to industrial property rights in EU countries to avoid barriers to trade and to create efficient EU-wide systems for the protection of such rights. It fights against piracy and counterfeiting and aims to help businesses, especially small businesses, access and use intellectual property rights more effectively.
Intellectual property rights strategy in Europe
As announced in the Single Market Strategy and Digital Single Market Strategy, on 29 November 2017 the Commission adopted a comprehensive package of measures to further improve the application and enforcement of IPR, and to step up the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.
- Communication,‘A balanced IP enforcement system responding to today’s societal challenges’
- Communication providing guidance and clarifying certain provisions of the IPR enforcement Directive to ensure a more homogenous interpretation in Europe
- Anevaluation report andstudy on the Directive on the enforcement of IPR
- Communication, ‘Setting out the EU approach to Standard Essential Patents’
- Overview report on the functioning of the Memorandum of Understanding on the sale of counterfeit goods via the internet
Patents and standard
Standardisation based on patent-protected technologies is a key contributor to industrial innovation and competitiveness. The European Commission supports the improvement of the framework governing the inclusion of patent-protected technologies into standards and the facilitation of the licensing process for these technologies.
What the Commission is doing
To ensure that Europe is well positioned in today’s competitive global environment, the Commission supports a smooth and balanced functioning of the system for standards that comprise patent-protected technologies. This includes removing unnecessary barriers in the market for the licensing of standard-essential patents (SEPs).
European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA)
Intellectual property rights (IPR) provide an incentive for innovation, employment and competition, and protect the right-holders against the use of their property without authorisation. The EEA Agreement contains harmonised provisions on intellectual property rights. In order to support the free movement of goods, these rules also contain the principle of regional exhaustion of intellectual property rights, applicable in the entire EEA. In practice, once a product has been placed on the market within the EEA by a right-holder (or with their consent), they can no longer prevent the importation of the product from another EEA State.
The Working Group on Intellectual Property meets regularly and actively follows EU initiatives within the field of IPR.
European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
Essential IPRs in ETSI
Standards rely on technical contributions from various sources. These contributions may contain patented technologies and other protected rights which are commonly known as Intellectual Property Rights. When it is not possible on technical grounds to make or operate equipment or methods which comply with a standard without infringing an IPR, i.e. without using technologies that are covered by one or more IPR, we describe that IPR as ‘essential’.
The ETSI IPR Policy seeks to reduce the risk that our standards-making efforts might be wasted if essential IPRs are unavailable under Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms and conditions. At the same time, we recognize that IPR holders should be fairly and adequately rewarded for the use of their IPRs in the implementation of our standards.
The objective of the ETSI IPR Policy is to balance the rights and interests of IPR holders and the need for implementers to get access to the technology defined in our standards under FRAND terms and conditions.
We have produced a guide to help our members understand and implement the policy.
European Committee for Standardization (CEN)
European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC)
IPR & Patents
The term ‘intellectual property’ is used to describe a wide range of different legal concepts. Common types of intellectual property rights (IPR) include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets.
The issue of how patents relate to standards has been the subject of intensive debate among industry bodies, standard setting organisations, and academic circles, etc. An increasing number of standards based on patented technology are being successfully and widely developed. However, many believe that, while both standards and patents can promote innovation and market place adoption, there is little else that they have in common. Despite these differing opinions, patents in standardized technology are one of the issues that must be addressed during the development of standards.