Publication of the Evaluation of the EC’s Strategy for the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countrie

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The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade) has just published the final report of the independent evaluation ADE has carried out of the EC’s 2004 Strategy for the enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries. The evaluation considered all categories of intellectual property rights (IPRs), notably trademarks and geographical indications, copyright and related rights, patents, and designs.

The evaluation was based on state-of-the-art evaluation methodology and tools. In total, more than 150 documentary information sources were consulted, 88 interviews were conducted with more than 140 interlocutors from different backgrounds, and three country missions were undertaken, to Ukraine, Thailand and Argentina, in addition to China which was visited last year.

The evaluation concludes that the IPR Enforcement Strategy and the set of actions it consists of can globally be considered as relevant, despite some limitations such as insufficient consideration of SME and consumer interests and the limited account taken of the emerging development agenda. With regards to results, it remains highly debatable whether the Commission and other EU institutions can be specifically named as having contributed directly and significantly to improvements in the enforcement of IPRs in third countries. Nevertheless, the EC has been partially effective; it was in reality most successful when providing technical co-operation projects on IP enforcement with appropriate funding as part of bilateral arrangements involving third country input. The evaluation also concludes that there was a lack of cohesion in all aspects of IP promotion and IPR protection within the EU Institutions and Member States, which undermined the credibility of the message conveyed to third countries.

The evaluation finally provides a number of recommendations, which can be summarised as: (i) ensuring a more comprehensive approach; (ii) embracing the Development Agenda; (iii) ensuring an adequate organisational set-up; (iv) strengthening consultation with all stakeholders; (v) pursuing legislative improvement where needed; (vi) pursuing bilateral agreements; (vii) developing technical cooperation programmes; (viii) ensuring more focused training and awareness-raising; and (ix) improving statistics and information sharing.

Related documents
Evaluation of the European Commission’s Strategy for the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries