Enforcers are on the front line of the fight against IP infringements in the EU and beyond. Customs officers, market surveillance authorities and police forces all play vital roles in tackling IP crime at an operational level.
Prosecutors are equally important in the IP enforcement landscape as they review evidence, make criminal indictments and carry out the prosecutions in court. Judges in the field of civil, commercial, administrative or criminal law are given the essential task of taking the final decision in IP cases.
To combat IP crime at Member State or EU level, enforcers need support. As set out in Regulation (EU) No 386/2012, the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights carries out a number of tasks aimed at supporting enforcers in their duties through the use of tools, knowledge sharing and best practice in partnership with other EU and international bodies.
Through tailored knowledge-building activities, the joint capacity of the global IP enforcement community in the EU is strengthened. These can be sector related - to train enforcers in upcoming operations in those sectors, or regionally based - to help improve cooperation and the exchange of best practices within and across the national borders. In all of these activities, rights holders are involved when sharing intelligence or best practices. Finally, the exchange of best practices is also done through the prosecutors and judges networks.
In all of the above work, as well as for the publication of quantitative and qualitative reports on IP crime, the Observatory works together with other EU agencies, EU institutions and international organisations who are also involved in the fight against IP crime. The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) is one of the Observatory’s main cooperation partners through the work of the Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC3). The EUIPO also collaborates closely with different Directorate‑Generals(DGs) of the EU Commission (the DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), the DG for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD), the DG for Justice and Consumer (DG JUST) and the DG for Trade (DG TRADE)), and the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (EUROJUST).The cooperation with EUROJUST has led to the development of a network of prosecutors working in the field of IP crime, the European Intellectual Property Prosecutors Network (EIPPN).
The work of the Observatory also includes the development of tools to help enforcers in their enforcement work. This is the case of the IP Enforcement Portal. The IP Enforcement Portal (IPEP) is an interactive, reliable and user-friendly tool for EU IPR enforcement, serving as a secure communication tool between all related parties: rights holders (and/or their legal representatives), EU enforcement authorities, the EU Commission and its EU delegations around the world. The IP Enforcement Portal was created under the mandate of Regulation (EU) No 386/2012 entrusting the European Observatory on Infringements of IP Rights to the EUIPO.
The training and best practice exchange initiatives are complemented by a number of courses and webinars on IP and IP enforcement available through the online platform for enforcers via the CEPOL portal, the so-called Virtual Training Centre .
The landscape of anti-counterfeiting technologies is wide, complex and evolves fast. Knowledge is not centralised and enterprises are not always capable of understanding and finding the right solutions that fit their needs. To fill the gap, with the support of a multidisciplinary group of experts, the Observatory has produced a comprehensive Manual on Anti-Counterfeiting Technologies which describes authentication, tracking, tracing and anti-tampering techniques in clear and accessible language. The manual will form part of a wider EUIPO project for the creation of a web-based searchable tool for anti-counterfeiting technologies.