Intellectual property rights (IPR) include –industrial property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications), copyright and related rights, topographies of integrated circuits, protection against unfair competition that have a significant role in designing creative and innovative products and services while playing a vital role in the growth of economies. First, intellectual property allows companies to differentiate their products from those of competitors, as well as to acquire a solid degree of exclusivity that allows to reduce the risks and uncertainties associated with the introduction of new or improved products to the market. The rights granted through the IP system enable holders to have exclusivity over their trade secrets, trademarks, designs, innovations and literary or artistic creations, thereby reducing the likelihood of copying or imitation by competitors; practical options for commercializing new or improved products are increasing; and provides an opportunity to more effectively deal with any infringements of their IP rights.
CEFTA framework on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights
CEFTA is taking a step forward in advancing opportunities for traders by preparing a framework for trade-related aspects of intellectual property and related rights, as one of the goals under the cross-cutting trade measures section of the Common Regional Market Action Plan 2021-2024. The framework is to provide harmonized regulations or minimum legal protection standards in various areas of IPR, as well as enforcement procedures that take into account EU and global (TRIPS) practices and improved coordination between IP offices.
The Joint Committee Decision will seek to facilitate cooperation between Parties in the field of protection of intellectual property rights by:
- Harmonizing minimum standards for protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights among the parties with a view to remove trade barriers related to intellectual property rights;
- Promoting technological innovation, transferring, and disseminating of technology between the Parties; and
- Promoting effective and adequate protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights by ensuring that implementation of measures and enforcement procedures do not themselves become barriers to trade.
Why are the intellectual property rights important for promoting trade between the CEFTA Parties?
The sectors that rely on IPR represent a significant part of economies, in terms of GDP, employment, taxes, income and strategic importance. IPR also promotes foreign direct investment (FDI) and technology transfer. Integrating markets for goods and services would enable small CEFTA economies to become part of not only regional but also global supply chains and production networks, which would in turn lower costs for consumers and make these economies more attractive to foreign investments. Moreover, economic integration is a prerequisite for acceding to the EU, which would prepare the CEFTA economies to function within the EU single market. IPRs encourage innovation and provide large and small companies with a range of tools to help drive their success and benefit consumers and society through a continuous flow of innovative, competitive products and services. The result consists of a cycle of sharing and exploiting new and useful knowledge, which ultimately benefits everyone in society.
Joint Committee Decision, which seeks to adhere closely to the European Union latest legislative developments, will contribute to strengthening CEFTA integration of IP rights as part of the common market, facilitating intra-CEFTA trade in goods and services and trade with the European Union for a more sustainable and inclusive economy.