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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Intellectual property action plan implementation

The table reflects the state-of-play of the implementation of the key actions mentioned in the IP action plan of 2020 (last update March 2022).


1. Better protection of IP

Action Status and info Further information
Support a rapid roll out of the unitary patent system, to create a one-stop-shop for patent protection and enforcement across the EU (2022-23)

The unitary patent system was successfully launched on 1 June 2023.

• Related DG GROW web page
• Unified Patent Court (UPC) website
• Related EPO web pages
EU countries info:
• Ratification of the UPCA
• National measures relating to the Unitary Patent
Optimise the supplementary protection certificates system, to make it more transparent and efficient (Q1 2023) Evaluation recently completed.
Call for evidence published.
An impact assessment is being prepared.
Depending on its outcomes, the creation of a unitary SPC and/or of a 'centralised' SPC granting procedure could be proposed.
Related DG GROW web page
Modernise the EU legislation on industrial designs, to make it more accessible and better support the transition to the digital and green economy (Q2 2022)

Evaluation and Inception Impact Assessment published.
The draft impact assessment received a positive opinion from the RSB on 26.11.2021.
Public consultation launched in April 2021 and completed (see summary report).

Legislative proposals are being prepared.
Related DG GROW web page
Strengthen the protection system for geographical indications for agricultural products to make it more effective and consider, on the basis of an impact assessment, whether to propose EU-level protection GI for craft and industrial products (Q4 2021)

Regulation (EU) 2023/2411 on the protection of geographical indications for craft and industrial products was adopted on 18 October 2023.

• DG GROW web page on Craft and Industrial GIs
• DG AGRI web page on agri GIs
Evaluate the plant variety legislation (Q4 2022) DG SANTE web page  

2. Promoting effective use and deployment of IP, especially by SMEs

Action Status and info Further information
Provide, with the EUIPO, a scheme for IP SME vouchers to finance IPR registration and strategic IP advice (Q1 2021) • IP Vouchers are available from 11 January 2021, to co-finance trade mark and design registration as well as personalised IP advice (‘IP Scan’).
• The SME Fund was extended to patents and will possibly cover further IP rights/services. The overall budget will be raised to €47 M over 3 years.
IP Voucher/SME Fund
EU countries info:
• Promotion of the IP Voucher and provision of experts for the IP Scan service.
Roll out IP assistance services for SMEs in the 'Horizon Europe' programme and expand it to other EU programmes (2020+) • New IP Scan services are available to Horizon Europe participants since March 2021.
• IP assistance will be better integrated within the EIC support services.
• IP assistance will also be integrated into the InvestEU SME window, and gradually into ESIF-funded R&I projects.
New IP Scan for Horizon Europe participants
European IP Helpdesk
IP Booster
EU countries info:
• At national and local level, link the IP assistance services with general business and research and innovation support services.
Present a code of practice on smart use of intellectual property in an international context to raise awareness among universities, research organisations and businesses (Q4 2022) community of practice will provide input for the draft code in 2022. Related Commission recommendation and code of practice of 2008

3. Easier access to and sharing of IP-protected assets

Action Status and info Further information
Ensure the availability of critical IP in times of crisis, including via a system to co-ordinate compulsory licensing (Q1 2023) • Impact Licensing Initiative study completed – related stakeholder workshop held on 28.1.2021 (outcomes).
• Depending on the impact assessment that will be conducted, a proposal could be made to enhance the coherence and effectiveness of compulsory licensing in the EU.
• A Call for evidence was published. A public consultation was launched in July 2022.
Improve transparency and predictability in the licensing of standard-essential patents (SEPs)
(Q4 2022)
• Call for evidence and a public consultation (same link) closed on 9 May 2022.
• An impact assessment is being prepared. Depending on its outcomes, a legislative proposal may be prepared.

• Studies (landscaping / essentiality checks pilot) and expert group (report).

• Related DG GROW web page

• SEPs-related webinars
Promote data access and sharing, while safeguarding legitimate interests, via clarification of certain key provisions of the Trade Secrets Directive and a review of the Database Directive (Q3 2022) • Study recently launched on the legal protection of trade secrets in the context of the data economy.
• Data Act proposal published (incl. provision on Database Directive). 
• Study to support the impact assessment for the review of the Database Directive: final report.

4. Fighting IPR infringements

Action Status and info Further information
Clarify and upgrade the responsibilities of digital services, in particular online platforms, through the Digital Services Act Proposal adopted (COM(2020)825) Background on the Digital Services Act
Strengthen the role of OLAF in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy (2022) Reference in the Commission Communication 'Long term action plan for better implementation and enforcement of single market rules', COM(2020)94, pp. 11-12. OLAF’s IPR web page
Establish an EU toolbox against counterfeiting setting out principles for joint action, cooperation and data sharing among right holders, intermediaries and law enforcement authorities (Q4 2022) • First ISSG meeting held in March 2021.
• Organisation of targeted workshops: social media, domain names, payments, transport and logistics, information sharing.
• Call for evidence published.
• Meetings on the MoU on the sales of counterfeiting on the internet and the MoU on online advertising and IPR: twice per year per MoU.
• The EU toolbox will set out recommendations and tools to ensure coherent, effective and coordinated action against counterfeiting, both online and offline. 

Related DG GROW webpage

Related DG Trade webpage

New Customs Action Plan
DG TAXUD's webpage on Counterfeiting, piracy and other IPR violations

EU Strategy to tackle Organised Crime 2021-2025

EMPACT initiative

5. Fair play at global level

Action Status and info Further information

• Periodic monitoring reports:
Third country report / Watch List
• DG TRADE’s IPR web pages

• EU representation before WIPO UN Geneva | EEAS Website (