Christine Lambrecht, Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, opened the Conference with introductory speeches.

Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht explained:

We want to take the proper steps to ensure that the valuable resource of data serves not only specific economic interests, but rather all of us. We have seen once again in fighting the Corona pandemic and in developing a vaccine how incredibly important data analyses and data exchanges are.

With the General Data Protection Regulation, the EU set the worldwide standard for the protection of personal data. We have the same goal for artificial intelligence and intellectual property: We must find a good legal, economic and social framework for innovation and competition.

Today, we brought together high-level European experts from industry, research and society. This was the launch event for an important debate which we will now continue within the framework of Germany’s EU Council Presidency: for example, on the role of patent protection in the development of vaccines, which we are urgently awaiting, or on artificial intelligence in rights enforcement and design protection.

EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton added:

With Covid-19, we witnessed the critical role of data and digital technologies to face public health challenges. The growing number of industrial data our society produces will foster the development of artificial intelligence tools and contribute to new health, mobility or environmental policies - with a significant job creation potential. To seize those opportunities and ensure a European digital sovereignty, our citizens and companies need to be able to own, control, use and stock their data in reliable European infrastructures. Those efforts are anchored in our European Data strategy and the future Data Act.

Following the conference, two workshops on copyright law were held in the afternoon. The first workshop “Copyright: Prospects for 2030” focused on the challenges of regulating the copyright system, examining the issues from an academic perspective. The second workshop “Copyright Infrastructure” followed up on initiatives undertaken by the preceding Finnish and Croatian Presidencies and explored the question of how metadata on protected content can be improved in an interconnected and digital world.

Additional online workshops in planning

On 13 October 2020, a workshop on the enforcement of intellectual property rights “Possibilities of using AI in order to disrupt financial flows for better IP enforcement” will discuss inter alia the potential of AI-based programmes being used (particularly by online sales platforms and payment systems) to combat trade in pirated goods.

Another workshop titled “Intellectual Property and Pandemics” on 29 October 2020 will address issues of intellectual property protection – especially patent protection at the national and international levels in the context of the current pandemic – and will look at the public interest in medical care for the population.

In addition, a workshop on “New Designs, New Designers – Design Law in the Face of New Technologies” on 26 November 2020 will examine the challenges that new technologies – such as the use of artificial intelligence and new multimedia design formats – pose to innovation-promoting and future-oriented forms of design protection.