you're reading...
International Relations, PUBLICATIONS

Overcoming Transatlantic differences on intellectual property: IPR and the TTIP negotiations

Recent studies demonstrate the important contribution of intellectual property rights (IPR) to the American and EU economies. Royalties and licence fees based on IPR figure high among the exports of both, and applications, and grants, for IPR protection made by Europeans in the US and vice-versa represent an important share of the totals. The differences between the respective IPR systems are comparatively small, yet seen as hard to overcome. The negotiation of the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) may present the opportunity for a step change in EU-US relations in respect of IPR.

Overcoming Transatlantic differences on intellectual property

© Michael Brown / Fotolia

Protection of intellectual property (IP) and IPR is justified as a necessity for encouraging innovation, creativity and investment in research and development activities. On the other hand, granting IPRs may have social and economic costs, in particular when IPR owners make inefficient use of the protected goods while preventing others from using them more efficiently. Therefore, IP law is concerned with striking an appropriate balance between the owners of IPR and the interests of the general public in free access to information and knowledge. At international level, a series of conventions and treaties set minimum substantive and procedural standards with respect to IP protection and enforcement, and form the international legal regime on IPR.

With increasing trade in IP-related goods and services, the United States (US), the European Union (EU) and other industrialised nations have pushed for better enforcement measures against counterfeit and pirated goods and for regulation of IP from the perspective of trade policy. Moreover, a number of bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) between the EU or US and third countries have included IPR chapters or IPR provisions going beyond the minimum standards agreed at multilateral level. Bilateral investment agreements (BITs) are also used to protect the rights of investors who use IP as a means of investment. However, this expansion of IPR (in multilateral and bilateral agreements, as well as to new subject matters) led mainly by developed countries has raised a range of concerns as well as opposition from developing countries, mostly concerned with ensuring transfers of technology and access to generic medicines.

Both the US and EU attach great importance to the protection of IPR and each has put in place a high-standard legal system of IP protection and enforcement. Patents, designs, trademarks, copyright, geographical indications, and more recently trade secrets, have been the main areas of focus. Specifically, the EU has gone through a successful process of assuming competence from its Member States (MS) to regulate in the field of IPR and has managed to institute Union-wide systems with regard to trademarks, designs, geographical indications and even patents (the latter not yet in application). Efforts to establish effective enforcement and border measures against IP infringements are another constant preoccupation for both the EU and US.

As both the EU and US have sought to promote in their bilateral and regional FTAs strong IPR-related standards, an IP chapter is also expected to feature in TTIP now under negotiation, as a joint effort to promoting strong IP protection globally. Nevertheless, concerns have been expressed. Parallels with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), rejected by the European Parliament in July 2012, are being made, in particular over lack of transparency in the talks and the fear that TTIP would see some of the controversial ACTA provisions reintroduced. Furthermore, issues such as geographical indications may become a stumbling block in the negotiations.

Read the whole In-Depth Analysis here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About EPRSauthor

European Parliamentary Research Service of the European Parliament. The EPRS offers the best available research and analytical support to Members of the European Parliament, their staff, parliamentary committees and, of course, to you!

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Overcoming Transatlantic differences on intellectual property: IPR and the TTIP negotiations

  1. For trademarks the easiest solution would be the US joining the Alicante system. Having dealt with a trademark application in the US I would highly appreciate that.

    Like

    Posted by Rebentisch | September 12, 2014, 11:46
  2. So will the US be allowed to import “parma ham” into the EU soon?

    Like

    Posted by a.g. | July 18, 2014, 12:37

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: TTIP and Benefits for Chemical Industry: Digital Lab Solutions May Realize Greater Gains - August 22, 2014

  2. Pingback: A szelemi tulajdonnal kapcsolatos problémák és az európai-amerikai szabadkereskedelmi tárgyalások | eGov Hírlevél - August 3, 2014

  3. Pingback: IPR and the TTIP negotiations | New Media στην Ελλάδα - July 31, 2014

  4. Pingback: Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in TTIP negotiations | European Parliamentary Research Service - July 24, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

EU’s refugee crisis
EU Legislation in Progress
Topical Digests
EPRS Podcasts

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,785 other followers

Disclaimer and Copyright statement

The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,785 other followers

%d bloggers like this: