IP Network: International cooperation
International cooperation between intellectual property (IP) offices contributes at bilateral, multilateral and regional level to the strengthening of IP systems worldwide for the benefit of users and rights holders.
Strong, interconnected, user-friendly intellectual property frameworks at international level help support EU companies doing business outside the borders of the Union.
With the entry into force of the amended European Union trade mark regulation (EUTMR), and the European Commission’s new Action Plan on IP, international cooperation, as reflected in the Strategic Plan 2025 (SP2025), is an integral part of the EUIPO’s core business.
As a result, the EUIPO, together with the EU’s national and regional IP offices, is working with international partners outside the EU through thethrough the European Union Intellectual Property Network (EUIPN). The network’s aim is to support EU policies and strengthen IP protection systems to achieve convergence of practices with other fast-growing economies.
This is reflected in the Strategic Plan’s Strategic Driver 1, ‘Interconnected, efficient and reliable IP system for the internal market’ (SD1). It lays out how the EUIPO intends to build on the existing networks to improve the IP system, especially during a period of constant changes in IP due to technology and other global forces. This strategic driver encompasses the EUIPO’s strategy to extend the benefits of the tools and practices of the EUIPN beyond the EU’s borders, ‘matching tools and practices with users’ needs’ (Goal 1.1).
Key elements of this cooperation are: knowledge sharing; the creation of common IT platforms; as well as support to EU users in registration and enforcement abroad, in cooperation with EU Member States and EU Delegations.
Our aim is to contribute to EU policies in the field of IP, so that European businesses can count on tools and practices that facilitate their access to emerging markets.
With the strong involvement of EU IP offices through the the European Intellectual Property Network (EUIPN) and the European Commission, we actively cooperate with our international partners to:
- provide common information on trade marks and designs, as well as classification tools, such as: TMview, DesignView, TMclass, Harmonised Database and DesignClass;
- capitalise on both our own expertise in IP practices and that of our partners in the EUIPN; and
- become leading players in the worldwide convergence stream that the EUIPN is promoting in the IP field.
International Cooperation at EUIPO takes three distinct forms: bilateral cooperation between the Office and IP offices in third countries; multilateral cooperation with regional and international organisations, as well as the Trade Mark Five (TM5) and the Industrial Design Five (ID5) ; and the implementation of EU-funded international IP projects.
The implementation of all activities under the EUIPO’s international cooperation heading is part of SP2025. Its deliverables are measured through key performance indicators via it’s balanced scorecard.
According to SP2025, in relation to Strategic Driver 1 and to the project ‘Broaden the cooperation framework outside the EU’, the benefits sought by the EUIPO are:
- increased predictability for EU businesses when protecting their rights outside the EU;
- expanded cooperation and collaborative networks;
- increased awareness of IP awareness and a broader understanding of the EU IP system internationally.
EU-funded international IP projects
The EUIPO works in close cooperation with the European Commission to support the implementation of trade, development and neighbourhood EU policies, promoting robust intellectual property systems outside the EU. The EU-funded projects aim to promote innovation, improve the capacities of non-EU IP offices, and enhance IP protection and enforcement. The overall objectives are to level the playing field for EU companies abroad and generate foreign direct investment and more quality/higher remuneration jobs.
These international IP cooperation projects are fully funded by the EU, including the EUIPO’s contributions. The EUIPO supports EU’s IP policy abroad as an implementing agency. As such, the EUIPO contributes an average of 30 % of the overall budget allocated to these international IP cooperation projects.
The projects currently being implemented are IP Key China, IP Key Latin America, IP Key South-East Asia, ARISE+ IPR, CarIPI, AfrIPI, AL-INVEST PI and EUGIPP. The work is carried out in close coordination with the European External Action Service, and the following Directorates-general of the European Commission: Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Trade, International Partnerships, the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) and Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.
Bilateral and multilateral cooperation
The EUIPO carries out technical bilateral cooperation with IP offices in non-EU countries. Any initiative must follow the EU’s policies and priorities for international cooperation, taking into account existing association agreements, free trade agreements and cooperation policies established by the EU for regional areas, such as the European Neighbourhood Policy. Furthermore, the Management Board of the Office must be kept informed. This arrangement will ensure that the EUIPO acts within its mandate and the existing institutional framework, while fully adhering with the EU’s international policy.
The EUIPO also cooperates with other regional and international organisations, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the European Patent Office (EPO), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) on projects of common interest.
In addition, the EUIPO participates in the TM5 and ID5 forums, which bring together the five largest offices in the world in volume of trade marks and designs (CNIPA, EUIPO, JPO, KIPO and USPTO) to exchange information and collaborate on projects of interest to their users.
EUIPO IP Attaché Network
The need for specific geographical knowledge in the IP field is progressively growing. The EUIPO is deploying IP experts in certain regions or countries where the European Commission (DG Trade) needs to reinforce its capacity to offer expert IP support to EU businesses. Among other things, IP Attachés represent the EUIPO and facilitate the relations with the respective country/region’s authorities and stakeholders in the IP field, including trade marks and designs.
IP Attachés answer to both the European Commission and the EUIPO. Currently, there are IP Attachés deployed in the EU Delegations in China, in Latin America (Argentina) and the South East Asia region (Thailand). Additionally, an IP expert has been seconded to the EU Delegation in Geneva in the context of the bilateral relations with international organisations, in particular WIPO. Another attaché has been seconded to the European Commission (DG Trade) in Brussels, to provide policymakers with IP expertise.