Don’t steal my brain
Intellectual property is a key asset in a knowledge-based economy. Luxembourg’s authorities have created a safe IP environment by implementing EU directives as well as international agreements and treaties. At the 5th IP Day in Luxembourg, the controversial ACTA directive was one of the main topics. Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg’s minister of the Economy and Foreign Trade said that the national legislation is not a blank cheque for illegal downloads.
Mr Schneider said that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) directive contains optional features that are not part of the national law. Although the Government will not change the law that is in force in the Grand Duchy, this does not mean that illegal downloading will be tolerated. “We don’t want an oppressive system like is the case in France and the United Kingdom. But there will be penal sanctions for illegal downloading if it is fraudulent, malicious and ill-intentioned.”
Luxembourg’s government is aware of the fact that innovative ideas drive global competitiveness. That is why it offers a supportive environment that stimulates research, which in turn rewards innovation and promotes intellectual property management. (For further information, please visit the Luxembourg for Business download centre).
Does your watch look fake?
The ACTA was, of course, one of the critical issues discussed at the 5th IP Day in Luxembourg. People against this multinational treaty argue that access to the Internet will be limited and websites censored and poor countries will be prevented from buying cheap medicines. One out of every four drugs sold via the Internet is counterfeit. Benoît Lory was at the conference in Luxembourg to express the views of the European Commission. He underlined that ACTA is not meant to affect fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and privacy.
The goal of the Commission, he said, is to tackle large-scale illegal activity, often pursued by criminal organisations. “What is legal now will remain legal in the future” he remarked. Here are some figures showing how important the fight against counterfeit and piracy is. The EU’s national customs authorities have registered that counterfeit goods entering the EU have tripled between 2005 and 2010. In 2011, more than 103 million fake products were confiscated at the EU external border.
All in all, Mr Lory said that ACTA would help countries work together to tackle Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) infringements more effectively. The European Commission wants to give people an incentive to be creative and innovative, but underlines that these same people need to be protected throughout Europe. This message most notably impacts Europe’s 25 million small and mid-sized businesses. CW