Intellectual property is vital to the EU’s economy. Making sure that it is well protected within
the single market is thus a key element of the Union’s competitiveness. With this in mind, the
European Court of Auditors is starting an audit to assess the effectiveness of the EU’s
intellectual property protection system.
Intellectual property is crucially important to the European economy. Intellectual property rights
(IPRs) provide an incentive for innovation, creativity and technological development. IPRs also offer
protection from unauthorised copying and therefore prevent counterfeiting and piracy. These are a
complex and growing problem. Besides being economically damaging, they can also be a public
safety issue, as clearly illustrated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is especially true in a number of sectors where EU businesses are world leaders: clothing,
luxury goods and pharmaceuticals to name but a few. It is estimated that industries relying heavily
on intellectual property generate almost 45 % of the EU’s GDP, worth €6.6 trillion, while providing
almost a third of total EU employment.
“Without effective means of enforcing intellectual property rights, innovation and creativity are
discouraged and investment diminished”, said Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, the Member of the European
Court of Auditors responsible for the audit. “IPRs are therefore of paramount importance for the
success of the internal market.”