Tobacco Products Directive risks undermining IP rights in EU market
Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), an initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), is concerned that measures included within the newly introduced EU Tobacco Products Directive will result in a backwash of unintended negative consequences, undermining intellectual property (IP) rights and increasing the problem of counterfeiting throughout the EU.
The ability of
brand owners to market their product in unique and easily identifiable ways is
fundamental to the protection of IP rights in developed societies. Removing one
industry’s ability to use its IP rights opens the door to extend this violation
to other industries and other brand owners in the EU and elsewhere.
the measures compromise the EU’s ability to prevent other countries from
introducing similar measures for other products, impacting EU business in food,
beverage and spirits sectors, for example.
that provisions contained within the Tobacco Products Directive will have a
damaging effect on intellectual property rights in the EU. Specifically, the
imposition of wide-ranging restrictions on the use of trademarks, including the
drastic minimization of package space available to the brand and other
- Compromises and
undermines the EU’s long-standing IP rights policies and the laws and
enforcement regimes established to protect them.
- Increases the
prevalence of counterfeit goods in the market and reduces brand owners' ability
to take action against such activity, besides undermining the ability of
consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. Trademarks serve these
important functions in the market for all branded goods.
rather than decreases burdens on already overstretched public agencies working
to enforce intellectual property protections in the face of escalating
counterfeiting and piracy throughout the EU and worldwide.
Commission has sent a worrying signal to the business community about its
commitment to respecting and protecting property rights. It is
extraordinary that in the wake of rejecting the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
Agreement (ACTA), the Commission is embarking on policies that will further
weaken the IP rights of the business community, and could jeopardize its reputation as an international champion
of intellectual property rights,” said BASCAP Director Jeffrey Hardy.
should be a concern to all businesses that depend on the protection of
intellectual property rights and the business community remains wary of the
introduction of similar measures for other products in the future,” said Mr
“We are hopeful
that the European Parliament and Member States can be relied on in the next few
months to review the work of the Commission in a more balanced and considered
way which will yield a version of the proposed Tobacco Product Directive that
respects intellectual property rights and recognizes the value of trademarks in
the fight against counterfeiting and other illicit trade,” said Mr Hardy.
For more information visit BASCAP