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IP-intensive industries and the economy of the European Union

Intellectual Property intensive industries in the European Union are well alive and have a growing importance for the economy. This is the general conclusion of a report written by the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office), along with the EPO (European Patent Office), and published in October 2016. This report, based on research and surveys completed over a period stretching from 2011 to 2013, follows a previous one based on the 2008-2010 period.

This research is an answer to the need to keep “innovation” as a focus of European growth, as was clearly stated in “Europe 2020”, the EU’s economic growth strategy from 2010 to 2020. Indeed, the main purpose of Intellectual Property is to encourage, and protect, innovation, and therefore keeping track of the importance of IP-intensive industries can give us an idea of the state and liveliness of innovation in the European Union.

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An Update on the Chinese Foreign Direct Investment Regulations

fan-876373_1280On September 3rd 2016, the twenty-second meeting of The National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee voted for the decision to amend the law on foreign-funded enterprises (FFE), which consist of domestic wholly foreign owned enterprises and Sino-foreign joint ventures.

Features and Impacts of the new regime:

The amendments replace the existing the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) approval requirements with filing requirements for all foreign-funded enterprises. Also, on the 3rd of September 2016, the MOFCOM published draft rules that will shorten the processing time and enhance certainty of transaction involving the FFEs.

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Electronic Dance Music in China

electronicdancemusic1Amsterdam Dance Event Panel: “China: A New Electronic Nation?” with Rainbow Gao (The Mansion, CN), Robin Leembruggen (Mad Panda, CN), MIIIA (DJ/Producer, CN), Paul Neuteboom (Modern Sky Entertainment, CN), Spencer Tarring (DJ/founder of Pyro)

On the first day of the Amsterdam Dance Event[1] conference held all over Amsterdam last week, a panel moderated by China-based DJ Spencer Tarring discussed the huge potential of China as the rising promised land for Electronic Dance Music (EDM). This potential market is immense: with over 1 billion inhabitants China counts 200 million people between 14 and 24 years old, the primary target audience for EDM. Although electronic music is still a niche market in this huge country, the Chinese EDM scene has been rapidly growing over the past year(s). EDM festivals have been expanding with STORM (held in 6 cities this year) and MYTH as the main dance events. In 2016, four out of 20 most popular dance clubs are located in China according to djmag. Between 2011 and 2015 the electronic music event capacity in China has almost tripled.[2]

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Conducting Transactions with Americans: A Few Regulatory Obstacles of Concern

stock-market-649902_1280After taking a hit through the financial crisis, the global M&A activity has been experiencing a consistent growth during the past five years. With 2015 being a record year marked with exceptionally large transactions, the market seems to be continuously confident. Activists nowadays are relying more and more on cross-border transactions as a source of value creation.[1] With merger deals such as the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its Irish pendant Allergan amounting to roughly $160 billions, the outlook on M&A activities in 2016 stays bright. Nevertheless, in order to invest into a well-established, and hence highly regulated, U.S. market, which contains the highest bidders and targets in the sector PMB[2] in 2015, foreign investors and activists should be aware of regulatory laws, which might have significant impact on a public M&A deal and therefore, some of such laws might be of particular concern.

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Towards a more global Internet – The end of total American control on domain names

icann_logoSince the creation of the internet, and its global development in the ’90s, the world wide web remains, in part, under control of the U.S. Commerce Department.

The Californian non-profit company ICANN[1] (Internet Corporation for Assigned names and Numbers) is responsible for the administration of IP addresses worldwide, as well as the global responsibility for top level domains (TLDs), and it is controled by the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department.

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Data protection: The Rise of the Privacy Shield

data-protectionOn July 12th 2016, the European Commission adopted the substitute for the Safe Harbor, the data protection agreement previously signed between the Commission and the United States Department of Commerce in 2010. This new agreement is referred to as the “Privacy Shield”.

As a reminder of the present state, the European Union Court of Justice “Schrems” decision on October 6th 2015 has invalidated the Safe Harbor agreement, stating that such agreement did not provide enough data protection for European citizens. The Safe Harbor was supposed to provide a legal framework on data transfer from European Union to the United States.

The new Privacy Shield is meant to be the substitute of the Safe Harbor. It is the result of negotiations between the European Commission and the American authorities since 2014. Read more


les_miserablesAn important goal when acting against infringements of rights is to receive compensation for your loss. But what kind of compensation does the law offer you? Directive 2004/48 of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights created two sets of compensation rules in article 13(1):

  • either the national authorities choose a compensation scheme that takes into account the negative economic consequences which you have suffered as well as the unfair profits made by the infringer and the moral prejudice[1] caused to you (article 13 (1)(a));
  • or the national authorities choose to set up a lump sum on the basis of elements such as, at least, the amount of royalties you could have been paid by the infringer in order for him to use your intellectual property right lawfully in the first place (in appropriate cases only, such as the impossibility to determine the true amount of the prejudice) (article 13(1) (b)).

Is it possible to ask for moral prejudice compensation to be added to the lump sum? This question has now been answered by the European Court of Justice [2].

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Open, Alibaba… But not to Counterfeiting

alibabaThere has already been controversy surrounding the operations of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holdings.
Taobao, a platform under the Alibaba portfolio, has been accused of allowing vast amounts of counterfeit goods to be knowingly sold by users of the website. These allegations did not rise to a threatening level until the Chinese Government itself published a white paper last January in which it called out the practices of Alibaba for their failure to address the clear issues of counterfeit goods passing through their domains.[1]


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