On 11 November, the European Parliament (EP) adopted with a large majority (454 votes for, 94 against and 23 abstentions) a resolution in response to the Commission’s EU Intellectual Property Action plan.
In its resolution, the EP presents a series of recommendations for upcoming EU initiatives in the field of intellectual property rights and emphasises that the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights are of great importance for the European economy and for the recovery and resilience of the EU, especially in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and other global crisis.
It also stresses the particular importance of intellectual property rights for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises, asking the European Commission to continue to help European companies innovate and develop key technologies at a global level on a basis of a comprehensive IP regime. MEPs also highlight the key role IPR plays in incentivizing research and protection of innovation products.
The Community Plant Variety Office commends the Honourable Members of the European Parliament for this very important resolution.
“This resolution adopted with a large majority in the European Parliament shows that the EU policy-makers value the strategic role of intellectual property rights for boosting the single market, supporting SMEs and enabling Europe to address the major societal challenges of our time such as climate change and the protection of natural resources” said Francesco Mattina, Acting President of the CPVO.
“In twenty-five years of existence, the CPVO has protected nearly 60 000 new plant varieties in the European Union, and we can testify of the essential role of the Community plant variety rights system and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants for the resilience and competitiveness of the EU agri-food model”, he added.
“We are ready to demonstrate in practice the value of the CPVR system to the policy-makers by welcoming them in our Agency in Angers in 2022 and by working with them on the revision of the Basic Regulation (EC) No 2100/94) foreseen in 2023”, he concluded.
It is worth noting that the European Parliament stresses the importance of protecting plant variety rights and highlights the important role of the CPVR and the UPOV systems, notably because it:
- Considers it essential to protect IPRs in a way that promotes research and innovation, in particular with the aim of introducing more resilient agricultural varieties to cope with climate change, achieve sustainable and agro-ecological farming models that are protective of natural resources and respectful of the potential of non-protected reproductive and heterogeneous material in the organic sector; stresses that protection of plant variety rights is essential and requires a strong and enforceable protection system in the EU and highlights therefore the important role of the Community plant variety rights systems and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants; points out that IPRs must also contribute to food security and the resilience and competitiveness of the EU agri-food model;
- Supports the Commission in pursuing the aims of its IP action plan of November 2020, as strong, balanced and robust IPR protection at the national, European and international level which allows return on investment is particularly important for the economic and social recovery from and long-term resilience to COVID-19 and other global crises so that the EU can respond to crises in an agile way and in line with the principles of Regulation (EU) 2021/241 establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility and ensures legal certainty and compliance with European legislation, as well as enables the creation of a digital and globally competitive sustainable economy in Europe where innovation also serves the purpose of contributing to the common good of society;
- Is convinced that support for SMEs, including financial and non-financial measures, is the right way to provide them with better knowledge and to facilitate their access to IPRs and that the Union’s financial and legal instruments are of the utmost importance in this regard; calls on the Commission and the EUIPO, therefore, to continue implementing IP management support measures for SMEs and micro-enterprises during the economic recovery, including the provision of one-stop shop access to information and related services and advice about IP; stresses that this support will help to leverage and promote all national and regional initiatives of members of the European Union Intellectual Property Network (EUIPN);
- Recalls that farm-saved seeds are estimated to account for over 80 % of farmers’ total seed requirements in some African countries; calls for the EU to support IPRs regimes that enhance the development of locally adapted seed varieties and farm-saved seeds, in line with the provisions of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and Article 19 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas;
- Stresses that further efforts should be made to increase transparency on the status and patentability of biological material; points out that breeders should be provided with adequate access to information on the biological material they will use in the plant breeding process; stresses that the Commission should implement new methods for effective consultation and exchange of information; opposes any patenting of live animals;
- Calls on the Commission to continue protecting IPRs and promoting enforcement in non-EU countries, including through an increase in funding for targeted EU technical cooperation programmes and capacity building, such as the three ongoing IP Key cooperation programmes with China, South-East Asia and Latin America and the joint partnership with the African continent to promote better generation and management of IP, and by supporting IP regimes that enhance local agricultural development; encourages, in this context, the Commission, on the basis of the EU’s experience, to assist policymakers and enforcement authorities and provide them with knowledge and guidelines for improving their capacity to tackle IPR infringements, and to promote feasible solutions, which could significantly reduce costs and simplify the procedures for obtaining, maintaining and enforcing the protection of IPRs, as well as to provide information to rights holders about the changing infringement landscape and the supply of counterfeit goods.
For more information we invite you to read the full resolution at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/fr/press-room/20211109IPR16903/ipr-strong-protection-needed-for-eu-social-and-economic-recovery