European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.

In the globalised and digitalised era of the 21st century, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship are the central pillars of European economic, cultural and social wealth. In this context, the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights becomes essential. The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, part of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), plays a crucial role in this protection, supporting IP awareness, education and law enforcement.

The Centre was set up in April 2009 under the name of the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy within the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Internal Market and Services. Close cooperation between the EUIPO and the Centre started in April 2011 and in 2012 the Centre was fully integrated into the EUIPO under its current name. This integration allowed the Centre to benefit from the EUIPO’s expertise and resources, thus becoming a centre of excellence in information and protection of IP rights.

IP crime has a devastating impact on the economy, the health and safety of citizens, but also on the environment. It is estimated that the annual losses caused by these crimes amount to €83 billion, affecting essential economic sectors and leading to the loss of around 670,000 jobs. The proceeds generated by these crimes are used by international organized crime organizations to support activities such as money laundering, drug trafficking, and modern slavery.

Therefore, the fight against IP crime requires close collaboration at EU level. The Centre works closely with European agencies such as Europol and Eurojust, but also with the national authorities of the Member States. Through various knowledge-building initiatives and events, the Observatory facilitates the exchange of good practices and experiences between law enforcement authorities, judges and prosecutors.

The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights is organised into several services and working groups, each with distinct and complementary responsibilities:

  • Law Enforcement Service: This service coordinates projects and activities related to IP law enforcement. This includes the development of tools and resources for law enforcement authorities, as well as the organisation of training programmes and cooperation initiatives at European and international level.
  • IP Awareness and Knowledge Service: Responsible for public awareness and IP education initiatives, this service works to raise awareness among citizens about the importance of protecting IP rights.
  • IP service in the digital world: Focuses on issues related to the protection of IP rights in the digital environment. This service works with digital intermediaries and addresses copyright issues in the context of emerging technologies.

Awareness and education.

A crucial aspect of the Centre’s mission is to educate citizens, especially young people and consumers, about the value of intellectual property and the negative consequences of its infringement.

The Observatory and its partners work to make IP crime a priority in law enforcement and to ensure that young people understand, from an early age, the importance of IP rights. Whether it’s fighting counterfeit medicines during the pandemic or educating the public about the importance of IP enforcement, the Observatory and its networks are making the IP system more integrated and efficient.