The European Parliament considered a proposal to make commercial scale infringements of intellectual property rights criminal offences, and to set minimum punishments across the European Union, in a vote on 24 April. However, the Parliament decided that the focus of the changes should be copyright and trade marks, and voted to remove patents from the scope of the proposal.

The initiative would require Member States to impose prison sentences of up to four years and fines of up to €300,000 for serious offences. But there is some doubt about the Commission's power to propose a law in this area, and Member States are examining the treaty powers to see whether it has a proper legal basis.