On 9 December 2015, the Commission issued a public consultation on the enforcement of intellectual property rights in Europe, with a view to determining whether the existing regime (contained in the IP Enforcement Directive) remains fit for purpose. The consultation, which closes on 1 April 2016, forms part of the Digital Single Market strategy, and specifically the Commission’s objective of modernising IP rights enforcement, focusing on commercial-scale infringements. In this regard, the Commission has referred to implementing ‘follow-the-money’ mechanisms, based on a self-regulatory approach (noting that codes of conduct at an EU level could be backed by legislation if needed to ensure they are effective).
The IP Enforcement consultation comprises different questionnaires for the following stakeholder groups: rightholders, legal profession, intermediaries, Member States, and citizens/consumers. The questions focus on a range of issues relating to the functioning of the enforcement framework, including:
- the rules for identifying infringers,
- remedies including calculation of damages, interim measures and the availability of injunctions, including on a cross-border basis),
- costs recovery,
Further, in relation to remedies, there are a number of questions focussed on injunctions against intermediaries and, more broadly, the role of intermediaries in enforcing IP rights and preventing future infringements.
Details on the proposed amendments to the IP enforcement regime in the EU are expected from the Commission by Autumn 2016.