By Selena Travaglio.- Our Legal Counsel, Selena Travaglio, participated in the annual Private Sector Representatives meeting on February 28, where some promising legislative developments in the field of online infringements and online platforms´ accountability were shared by the European Commission.
Among the main updates on the agenda, was the presentation on the Digital Services Act (DSA) held by Ms. Roche Laguna from the European Commission (DG CONNECT).
For those who have not heard of it, the DSA consists of a common set of rules on intermediaries' obligations and accountability and creates comprehensive new obligations for online platforms to reduce harms and counter risks online. It came into force on 1 November 2022, and shall apply from 17 February 2024.
One of its most interesting provisions is Article 12, reading that “Providers of intermediary services shall designate a single point of contact to enable recipients of the service to communicate directly and rapidly with them, by electronic means and in a user-friendly manner, including by allowing recipients of the service to choose the means of communication, which shall not solely rely on automated tools. (….) Also, they “shall make public the information necessary for the recipients of the service in order to easily identify and communicate with their single points of contact. That information shall be easily accessible, and shall be kept up to date.”
In case of correct implementation, the aforesaid provision promises to solve major problems while approaching online platforms like Facebook or Amazon to claim violation of plant breeders’ rights. For example, the EC Representative confirmed the obligation for a human being to handle the IP infringement complaint.
However, what (not surprisingly) clearly emerged from side discussions with participants at the meeting, is that online platforms have no clue about plant breeders´ rights. It results in them often not knowing how to handle complaints concerning IP rights other than trademarks and copyright. We have seen, in fact, that online platforms, in principle, provide online forms for reporting on trademark and copyright infringements, only.
This validates CIOPORA´s commitment to the work of the Observatory to raise awareness of the existence of other IP rights, to which equal recognition and equivalent means of protection must be ensured. Also, the positive outcome and results achieved so far confirm the essential role that CIOPORA plays in advocating for greater and equal protection of all intellectual property rights in all industry sectors.
Please, feel free to reach out to us, anytime, with spontaneous feedback and reporting on any subject able to support our standing before the two Observatories. It is your active participation that gives meaning and makes our work effective. We very much value your input.