[A2k] EU study advocates a European Criminal Court

Ante ante at ffii.org
Tue Feb 8 01:24:54 PST 2011

[ ACTA / Economy / Innovation ]
EU study advocates a European Criminal Court

Brussels, 8 February 2011 -- A study commissioned by the European Commission 
advocates the abolition of the national prosecutor's discretion whether to 
prosecute and how to charge the defendant. It also argues in favor of a 
European criminal court and for the criminalisation of patent infringements. 
The main question the EU study had to answer is whether EU criminal measures 
aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights are 
essential. The EU is only competent to adopt criminal measures if the criminal 
measures have been proven "essential".

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) observes that the 
study fails to prove EU criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of 
intellectual property rights are needed. Incidentally, this also indicates 
that the EU is not competent to ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade 
Agreement's criminal measures.

The EU study reports a "general understanding that the problems caused by 
transnational crimes create a strong need for harmonization of the criminal 
laws of the EU member states."

The FFII comments that a general understanding is no proof, and points to the 
strong averse reaction by the Dutch Parliament to an earlier EU enforcement 
law proposal to show that the purported "general understanding" doesn't even 
exist. The study does not address the Dutch Parliament's objections, nor even 
mentions them.

FFII analyst Ante Wessels: "Without addressing counter arguments, without 
proof criminal measures are essential, the study attacks core aspects of 
national sovereignty: prosecutors' discretion and national criminal courts." 

The EU study advocates criminalisation of patent infringements. 
Criminalisation of patent infringements is highly controversial. Patent 
infringements are not a crime in the United States. The European Parliament 
removed patents from the scope of an earlier EU enforcement law proposal. The 
Council explicitly excluded it from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement's 
negotiation mandate.

Ante Wessels: "Patents have unclear validity and scope. It is often unclear 
whether one violates a patent. In the software sector, there are so many 
patents, infringement is often unavoidable. Criminal measures against patent 
infringements give competitors and patent trolls undue powers - especially if 
there is no national prosecutor's discretion whether to prosecute. Would we 
like to see Steve Jobs behind bars? Or Doctors Without Borders?"


For more information, see the FFII analysis of the EU study:

Study on a possible modified proposal on criminal measures aimed at ensuring 
the enforcement of intellectual property rights:
We received a scan of a paper version, containing the Questionnaire, document 
18259/10 in French and the  study. The 6.3 MB questionnaire.tif is the 
original file, the 48 MB  questionnaire.pdf may be more easy to use, the 2.5 MB 
EU-study.pdf only contains the study.

FFII analysis ACTA's criminal measures:

General FFII ACTA analysis:

Permanent link to this press release:


Ante Wessels 
ante (at) ffii.org 
+31 6 100 99 063 

FFII Office Berlin 
Malmöer Str. 6 
D-10439 Berlin 
Fon: +49-30-41722597 
Fax Service: +49-721-509663769
Email: office (at) ffii.org

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in twenty European countries, 
dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based 
on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500 
companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice 
in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) 
in data processing.

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