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New legal platform for intellectual property in the EU

Senior Officials from the European Commission, the European Union Delegation to China, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, and academic representatives from Peking University came together on 12 May 2010 in Beijing to launch the ‘Europe IP Law Search’ – a new addition to the widely-used legal search tool, ‘China IP Law Search‘ www.ipr2.org/ipsearch. 

Europe IP Law Search is a free-of-charge search tool designed to help users find and access legal resources on the current legislative framework of intellectual property protection and enforcement in Europe.  The search tool enables users to access legal texts in the key areas of IP including Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Customs, Internet-related, Competition etc across a range of legislation, Directives, Regulations,. Protocols, Conventions etc and law-making bodies. 

Mr Koos Richelle, Director-General of the EuropeAid Co-operation Office and Mr Serge Abou, Ambassador of the EU Delegation to China together with Mr Yang Guohua, Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Commerce of P.R China introduced the new features of the tool and explained how it fits into the overall picture of strengthening connections between China and the EU in both the IP field and economic relations in general, to an audience of lawyers, trademark and patent agents, professors and students, legal researchers, chambers of commerce, EU Member States embassies and data providers. 

Mr Richelle explained that “The European Commission strongly pursues transparency of its IP protection systems. Making available European IP laws and regulations to Chinese users increases transparency and facilitates access to the European market.” He also emphasised the importance of the IP Law Search for industry. “The EU’s investment in its co-operation with China aims at supporting business in using their intellectual property rights as a value creating business asset, making new market opportunities possible. IP Law Search can serve to meet the increasing information needs of IP right holders, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

Mr Yang said “MOFCOM welcomes the launch of Europe IP Law Search and also hopes this new legal platform will be helpful to better understanding the EU IPR legal system”. Mr Yang also spoke highly of the China IP Law Search launched last year and emphasised how China and the EU would continue to cooperate to promote communication and understanding between each other. 

The China IP Law Search, launched in 2009, provided for the first time a comprehensive, free-of-charge and bilingual collection of legal references relevant to intellectual property protection in China. The tool is now being extended to include Europe-wide IP legislation and will broaden the user-base of business associations, companies, lawyers, academics, students and authorities. By helping users to find and access legal resources in their daily work, the EU-China ‘IP Law Search’ aims to be a valuable source of information for everybody working, studying or simply interested in the legal IP environment in China and the EU. 

IP Law Search therefore contributes to raising public awareness of the importance and scope of intellectual property protection by providing direct access to information on the legal framework that supports it. 

Mr Carlo Pandolfi, Team Leader of the IPR2 Technical Assistance Team, described how the new EU pages aim to add-value as a user-driven information resource and explained the potential to work with official, commercial and academic reference partners and contributors for its maintenance and development, to assure continuity for the tool beyond the life of the Project. Ms Tamryn Barker from the IPR2 Project gave a demonstration of the Europe IP Search and its various functions; and as part of relating the tool to other information sources being developed by commercial providers, Mr Chris Bailey from Rouse, a leading global intellectual property firm, introduced and demonstrated their firm’s China on-line IP litigation analysis tool – CIELA. Developed by Rouse, CIELA is an analytical tool for IP judgments from China's major IP courts, and provides a comprehensive analysis of some 10.000 published decisions to date as well as data on damages awarded across a range of courts for specific IP areas and industries. 

China IP Law Search is an initiative of the EU-China IPR2 Project in co-operation with the Ministry of Commerce of China, aimed at comprehensively reflecting China’s establishment of an IP legal system of protection with the basic goal of providing widespread access to IP-related information both in English and Chinese to the public. This forms part of IPR2’s work on enhancing access to information on Chinese and European IP laws. IPR2 is collaborating with the Ministry of Commerce of China to maintain and develop the IP Law Search services over time.