Commission proposes criminal measures for IP infringements

DG Justice and Home Affairs wants tougher laws for all intentional infringements of an intellectual property right on a commercial scale, including prison sentences.

The Commission’s DG Justice and Home Affairs has presented a double proposal for a directive and a framework decision aiming to revive two draft laws. The measures are set out by DG Internal Market in its initial draft for the directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The measures, which were in Article 20 of the draft, were scrapped by Parliament when it adopted the directive in the spring of 2004. 

They foresee, besides custodial sentences, fines, the destruction of infringing goods, or confiscation of these goods or of goods of a corresponding value, the closure of the establishment used to commit an offence, bans on engaging in commercial activities, placing under judicial supervision, judicial winding-up, a ban on access to public assistance or subsidies and the publication of judicial decisions.  

Member states are urged to impose maximum prison sentences of at least four years and maximum fines of at least 300,000 euro for serious infringements. In addition, the draft framework decision provides for extended powers for confiscation, grants the holders of intellectual property rights the right to assist the work of joint investigation teams and introduces rules on where competences lie in cross-border cases. 

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