SEMI Members Discuss IP Issues with European Commission Officials
As part of the 3rd Brussels Forum, SEMI organized a series of visits to the European Commission to discuss intellectual property issues. On December 9, Maggie Hershey, Sr. Director of Public Policy at SEMI Washington, D.C. accompanied SEMI member companies to the European Commission Directorates General (DG) for Trade and the Internal Market. The member companies shared with Heads of Units the experiences of semiconductor equipment and materials suppliers with IP infringement and its economic impact.
The SEMI European Advisory Board visits the European Commission on 9 December 2008.
How can the European Commission help companies facing IP challenges? For IP infringement encountered outside the European Union, DG Trade can provide assistance. If there is a violation of a bi- or multi-lateral agreement, they can directly approach the country to try to resolve the issue. They also provide guidance to companies doing business overseas through IPR Helpdesks that provide free advice to companies (see attached links) and through IP attachees based in Beijing and Moscow. The Enforcement unit at DG Internal Market is available to assist companies with IP challenges inside the European Union.
While at DG Trade, the SEMI group visited Peter Klein in the New Technologies section. Klein is the EU Representative to the World Semiconductor Council’s (WSC) annual Government/Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS). The recent GAMS resulted in an agreement to collaborate on customs efforts to combat counterfeiting. The New Technologies section is involved in negotiations of bilateral trade agreements and is interested in company input regarding non-tariff barriers for countries such as Brazil and Ukraine where negotiations are underway.
One key IP issue in Europe is the concept of creating a community-wide patent. Discussions for a new patent structure are progressing at the technical level. Major issues to be resolved include languages, disbursement of fees and legal structures. In addition, officials do not expect any new initiatives on IP topics such as harmonization of trade secrets laws at least until after the new Commissioners are in place in October 2009.
In addition to the Brussels Forum meetings, Carlos Lee from the SEMI office in Brussels attended the European Commission workshop on IP Management and Enforcement, which focused on good practices for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Given that 85% of SEMI’s 2000 members are SMEs, the information provided was particularly relevant, especially the presentation by Simon Cheetham on “IPR and Holding onto Profits: The Experience with China.” A copy is available upon request from email@example.com
IP Help Desks:
Get Involved! Be Heard!
As the voice of the equipment and materials industry, SEMI represents member interests throughout the year, working with policymakers and other groups and individuals who are shaping the business environment. Our collective voice, however, is made stronger by active member involvement, so we encourage you to join us in support of our Industry Advocacy endeavors.
SEMI has IP working groups in the U.S. and Europe. Members are composed of representatives of small, medium and large companies supplying equipment, material and services to the semiconductor and related industries.
Senior Director, Public Policy
SEMI North America
Senior Manager, Brussels Office
6 January 2009