Today, the Heads of various EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Agencies and the European Commission came together at Eurojust, the EU’s Judicial Cooperation Unit, for the 2nd high-level meeting on a joint strategy related to intellectual property (IP) crime, to strengthen interagency cooperation against IP crime and agree on new roles and concrete actions. One of the partners, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), is considering the possibility of providing financial support to Eurojust in cases involving IP crime, including the support of joint investigation teams (JITs). At present, there are six active JITs with EU partners and Member States. The direct and swift exchange of information between all JHA partners remains the key to more operational effectiveness and the successful prosecution of IP crimes.
Mr Ladislav Hamran, President of Eurojust, said:
‘As nowadays criminality has no borders, close cooperation between Eurojust and its trusted EU partners is more necessary than ever to investigate and prosecute IP crimes, bring criminals to justice and protect our fellow European citizens. I therefore heartily welcome today’s meeting as an excellent opportunity to draw valuable lessons learned, reinforce mutual trust and coordinate our common strategy.’
Mr Christian Archambeau, Executive Director of the EUIPO, said: ‘In order for the IP system to deliver its expected benefits, we need a combination of efficient and accessible registration services and effective enforcement. High-level meetings of this kind, combined with the exchange of data and statistics, play an important role in ensuring that the EU provides a joined-up IP system that fosters creativity and innovation, protects citizens, and ultimately helps generate jobs and growth.’
This year’s meeting was organised by EUIPO and hosted at Eurojust’s premises in The Hague. The meeting builds on the operational experience gathered since the previous meeting in January 2018, following which all partners involved (European Commission, Eurojust, Europol, EUIPO, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)) adopted a cooperation framework to enhance the fight against IP crime in the European Union and beyond. The high-ranking participants reiterated the importance of improved data exchange and analysis, especially since the new legal framework for Eurojust and Europol unlocks the possibility of mutual indirect access to databases between the two agencies.
Eurojust deals with the judicial aspects of IP rights infringements, which are often related to other crime types, such as tax fraud, cybercrime, crimes against human health, or trafficking in substandard products. Eurojust has therefore launched a one-year project, including the assignment of a seconded national expert, to foster cooperation with the EUIPO and Europol by identifying cases requiring immediate judicial action. Eurojust maintains close professional contact with Europol, based on mutual trust, to encourage more and timely referrals of IP crime cases to Eurojust. Eurojust is also preparing a comprehensive report on practical difficulties, legal loopholes and best practice in the judicial response to IP crime cases to identify hands-on solutions and explore ways of more effective international cooperation.
The EUIPO is responsible for managing the EU trademark and the registered Community design in cooperation with the Member States’ IP offices and national, regional and international partners and providing exclusive rights for trademark and design protection throughout the European Union and on a global scale, in conformity with international best practice. The EUIPO also manages and finances the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, which is a network of IP experts and specialist stakeholders.
Photos © Eurojust