EC communication on EU and US: Intellectual Property

Subject: EC communication on EU and US: Intellectual Property
From: Barbara Schleihagen (
Date: ma 30 maalis 1998 - 12:31:41 EEST

Agence Europe published on 25 March 1998 the text of the "Brittan Plan" for
the creation of a common market between the European Union and the United
States ("Europe"/Documents No. 2080/81). This European Commission
communication aimed at the creation of the New TransAtlantic Market stems
>from an initiative by Vice-President Sir Leon Brittan, and is finalised
with the participation of Commissioners Monti (internal market) and
Bangemann (industrial policy). Sir Leon would like the EU/USA summit in May
to discuss this project. The EU Council of Ministers will have a first
exchange of views to the project in its session on 30/31 March.

Concerning "Intellectual property", the documents covers among others
questions of patents, internet domain name, and protection of databases.
The latter paragraph reads as follows:

"The legal protection of databases requiring substantial investment is
currently the subject of multilateral negotiations in WIPO. The Berne
Convention and TRIPs provide copyright protection for creative databases,
but not as regards databases which are not "original" in the copyright
sense. The EU and the US should continue their bilateral dialogue in order
to agree on a common approach to the WIPO negotiations, securing a mutually
acceptable outcome at the multilateral level as the ultimate goal.
Community legislation already offers a higher level of protection.
(Footnote: UE database markers are guaranteed a sui generis protection
under Article 7 of Directive 96/9/EC of 11 March 1996 which had to be
implemented by 1 January 1998) It also provides for the possibility of
concluding bilateral agreements on a reciprocal basis with countries
offering a comparable protection to EU database makers (Footnote: see
Article 11 par. 3 in conjunction with recital 56 of the Directive). The
fulfilment of this condition by the US through the adoption of legislation
by Congress would lay down the basis for the conclusion of a bilateral
agreement, securing a higher level of protection for EU databases makers in
the US."

Best wishes,
Barbara Schleihagen

Barbara Schleihagen, Director
Heidi Grootscholten, EU Policy Officer
P.O. Box 43300
NL-2504 AH The Hague
Tel: +31-70-309 06 08
Fax: +31-70-309 07 08

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