European Commission DG Enterprise
Stakeholder Meeting on Counterfeiting and IPR Intellectual Property Rights
Brussels, February 17, 2006
The Commission has identified the necessity of improving the protection of the Intellectual Property in many industry sectors and has committed itself in its recent Industrial Policy Communication to further address these issues in stakeholder meetings.
The major issues being discussed in the course of the meeting were - Community Patent, EU/US working group on counterfeiting, the increased participation of pirates in trade fairs and the threats to the various industry sectors.
John Kuehmayer, Chairman of AMEM, participated in one of these stakeholder meetings on February 17, 2006 in Brussels on behalf of EMEC and had the chance to illustrate the situation in the industry:
- it is the European marine equipment industry which is the technology leader in the world
- it is the European marine equipment industry which holds the patents
- it is the European marine equipment industry which desperately needs the protection of its Intellectual Property in order to preserve its competitiveness and safeguard its technological leadership!
The shipbuilding industry in comparison has only a fraction of the patents, as ship designs can not be or have not been protected until now neither by patents, registered designs nor utility models.
The DG Enterprise driven initiative on counterfeiting will therefore be very much supported by the marine equipment industry and its distinctive support by DG Trade and DG Taxation is highly appreciated.
Counterfeiting art and music, fashion and luxury goods, computer soft ware and hard ware might have an enormous negative economic impact but in general it does not pose a safety or health risk to the consumers, while substandard pirated copies of European marine equipment can have fatal consequences on the safety of a ship or the lives at sea!
Counterfeited consumer goods from overseas have to pass customs authorities, where they can be more or less easily detected. The majority of poor copies of marine equipment to the contrary is permanently installed in ships where it sits like a sleeping bomb and it is almost impossible for Port State Control to eliminate it.
Tackling the joint initiatives of the US and the European Community, John Kuehmayer stressed the fact that apart from a few issues of common interest, the positions of these two economies are completely diverse. The US government is protectionist while the European Commission has an altruistic - give for free – approach to patents.
To give a proof for the US protectionism – the Hilmer Doctrine. To explain this doctrine in a few words - it means that in the United States of America, a practice of not recognizing the filing date of the earliest national application as the effective date as a prior art reference has been established by judicial precedents.
To put it more provocative - the difference between the fake of a Rolex watch and the counterfeited safety device on board a ship is: the copied Rolex is distributed via criminal channels, the pirated safety product has the certification of European notified bodies under the umbrella of the MED Marine Equipment Directive and the MRA Mutual Recognition Agreement between the US and the EU.
Pedro Velasco Martins, DG Trade
Didier Herbert, DG Enterprise and Industry
Gert-Jan Koopmann, DG Enterprise and Industry
Luc-Pierre Devine, DG Trade
Luc-Pierre Devine (left), DG Trade
Chris Allen (right), DG Trade
Ruben Schellingerhout, DG Enterprise and Industry
Christophe Zimmermann, DG Taxation and Customs
John Kuehmayer, AMEM