In a decisive vote on 25 February, the European Parliament has called for the enhanced protection of European industry, creators, competitiveness and consumers by agreeing on amendments to the draft Trade Mark Package that clarify the right for customs to control fake goods in transit. Rather than allowing the EU to become the counterfeiters hub of choice, MEPs have understood the necessity for our customs to have this ability, an essential pillar of both intellectual property and consumer protection. The AIM Anti-Counterfeiting and Trade Mark Committees will continue to engage actively not only with the Parliament but also the Member States and the Commission in the next steps of this important dossier and we will report more fully on the entire plenary vote shortly. In the meantime, we state our sincere gratitude to the European Parliament. Please see the press release below welcoming the vote, which AIM has co-signed with many of our sister organisations.
BUSINESS COMMUNITY WELCOMES TODAY’S VOTE BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ON COUNTERFEIT GOODS IN TRANSIT AND URGES COUNCIL TO FOLLOW SUIT
The undersigned organisations representing thousands of companies across all industry lines and sectors welcome today’s vote by the European Parliament of robust measures to fight the transit of trademark counterfeit goods in the EU as part of a wider review of the European Union trademark legislation.
Trademark counterfeiting is a global, pervasive and serious hindrance to growth and jobs, and often a threat to citizen health and safety. The capacity of European customs to act is essential in this fight against the trade of counterfeits.
Since the Philips/Nokia Ruling (C‑446 and 495/09) in 2011, under EU law, European customs can check counterfeit goods transiting through the EU but can only stop them if there is a risk of these goods entering into the Single Market. This means in practice that customs are powerless against counterfeit goods on route to a third country, and must let them go, at the risk of these goods being illegally diverted back into the EU.
The new provisions adopted today will allow customs to stop trademark counterfeit goods even if destined to a country outside the EU and will not affect the trade of legitimate goods under the EU’s WTO international obligations. Likewise, these provisions ensure that genuine generic medicines will reach their final destination.
Trademark-intensive industries account for 21% of all direct jobs in the EU and for 34% of the EU GDP. The global trade of counterfeits has been growing exponentially and the lack of adequate rules at EU level has exacerbated the problem affecting companies, governments and citizens across Europe. Indeed, the 2012 detention statistics from EU customs have shown an unprecedented and extremely worrying fall by 65% on the year before. Without robust rules to stem the tide, the risk of the EU being a hub for the trade of counterfeits is real.
We salute this vote and the political courage of MEPs Marielle Gallo and Bernhard Rapkay who sponsored the transit provisions which were adopted today. With this vote, the European Parliament signals that it is serious about stopping trademark counterfeits to protect consumers everywhere and that the EU should show leadership in the global fight against counterfeiting.
List of signatory organisations
Chrissie Florczyk, Director-General
firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)1494 449 165
Marie Pattullo, Senior Brand Protection Manager
Marie.email@example.com, + 32 2 736 0305
Anna McNally, Communication Director
firstname.lastname@example.org, + 32 2 289 10 16
Philipp Hanske, Public and Legal Affairs
email@example.com, +49 (0)30 20308 2719
Clotilde Piednöel, President
Elise Melon, Manager Intellectual Property & Trade
firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 2 626 2552
Lidia Mallo, Government Affairs & IP Advisor
Stéphanie Le Berre
email@example.com, +32 2 762 86 48
Alexandra Iliopoulou, Policy and Legal Adviser
firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 489 970 143
Claudio Bergonzi, Secretary General
Milesh Gordhandas, Coordinator – Europe Representative Office
email@example.com, +32 2 880 3721
Jean-Claude Darné, Coordinator – Communications
firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 212 642 1771
Dr. Alexander Dröge
email@example.com, +49 30 206 168 40
EUTMReformTaskForce@marques.org, +44 116 274 7355
Delphine Sarfati-Sobreira, General Director
firstname.lastname@example.org, +33 1 5626 1414