21st Sep 2017


MEPs to vote on EU penalties against fake products

  • Counterfeit medicine is on the increase (Photo:

MEPs will on Tuesday (20 March) vote on a draft law that could see EU-wide criminal penalties for counterfeiting and violating intellectual property rights.

Members of the European Parliament's legal affairs committee will give their view on a draft report by Italian socialist MEP Nicola Zingaretti following an April 2006 European Commission proposal for a law on criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

According to the commission, the range and value of pirated goods - from fashion bags to sports cars and from music files to fake medicine - within the bloc is on the rise and increasingly linked to organised crime.

The commission proposal would harmonise criminal penalties in the area across the EU with a maximum of four years imprisonment and fines of up to €91,053.

Fines could go up to €273,160 if organised crime is involved or in cases of a risk to health and safety, such as counterfeit medicines or batteries.

Brussels' move into criminal matters was triggered by a landmark ruling on environmental crimes by the European Court of Justice in September 2005, which gave Brussels the power to introduce harmonized criminal laws across the EU.

The court stated that the commission is allowed to propose penal measures in order to make community legislation effective.

Scope of the law

The parliament committee vote on the draft report has already been postponed twice as the scope of the law has been of much debate.

MEPs' viewpoints have been divided between either broadening or limiting the remit of the proposed law.

Austrian Green MEP Eva Lichtenberger argues the law should only cover areas where national laws are not already in place.

"Let's focus on the large-scale organised crime," she said at the last committee meeting. "Let's leave the end-user, who didn't even know he did something wrong," she added.

Dutch liberal MEP Toine Manders at the same meeting called for consistency. "We need standards and laws recognised all over Europe."

He has also, in an amendment, called for strict anti-counterfeiting penalties to include the seizure and destruction of all counterfeit material and equipment used to carry out the infringement.

"National law can't fight international crime," Mr Zingaretti said at the meeting last month. "We have to give Europe the tools to fight international organised crime."

If the legal affairs committee adopts the report, it will face the 785-member strong plenary in April or May.

MEPs approve criminal law in copyright area

A proposal for the EU's first-ever directive harmonising criminal law in all member states has been backed by MEPs as they voted for a draft report on criminal penalties - including imprisonment - for crimes breaching intellectual property rights.

Pressure mounts on EU cloud deal as deadline looms

The European Commission is under pressure to keep to its self-imposed September deadline to publish an EU cloud computing strategy, as new evidence revealed widespread public confusion about it.


The rise of the German alt-right

Ahead of Sunday's German elections, a growing number of anti-establishment, anti-Islam websites have created an echo chamber for the radical right.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan leader decries Spanish government intervention
  2. Hungary set for fresh campaign against public enemy Soros
  3. Iceland's PM leads in polls ahead of October elections
  4. Erdogan demands Iraqi Kurds cancel referendum
  5. Ireland to hold referendum on ownership of water
  6. Report: May to offer €20bn as Brexit bill in Florence speech
  7. Merkel poised to win election despite CDU dip in polls
  8. EU unveils cyber security ideas

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressCommends the German Government for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  2. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  3. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  4. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  6. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  7. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  8. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  9. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  10. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies
  11. EU2017EEAre We Socially Insured in the Future of Work?
  12. European Jewish CongressFrench Authorities to Root Out "Societal Antisemitism" After Jewish Family Assaulted