Corporate Social Responsibility for fair commercial practices and intellectual property: real potential?

Authors

Radka MacGregor Pelikánová
Metropolitan University Prague
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9628-7146
Keywords: commercial practices, competitiveness, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), intellectual property (IP), sustainability, unfair commercial practices directive (UCPD), unfair competition

Synopsis

This monograph is the result of an ambitious, innovative, multi-disciplinary and scientific research project conducted at the Metropolitan University Prague and supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, namely GA ČR No. 17-11867S. It presents and codifies an abundance of fresh information about the perception of sustainability, corporate social responsibility (“CSR”), (un)fair commercial practices and intellectual property (“IP”) and their mutual support and possible synergy effects. This naturally involves both primary and secondary data and their processing by a battery of appropriate methods. The pertinent data was obtained and selected via complex investigative and open-minded research activities throughout a number of fields and branches, while directly and indirectly drawing from prior publications of the author of this monograph (“Author”), especially books[1] and articles that were published in 2017 and 2018. Following this, the yielded data was subjected to an investigative Meta-analysis while employing a comparative and holistic approach. Particular attention has been paid to the feasibility, effectiveness and efficiency of the potential of CSR to support the fairness of the commercial practices and the development of the IP assets, in particular inventions, innovations, and proper labelling in the EU. This leads to the ultimate key research question whether the current perception and setting of the CSR can or cannot help in the fight for fair competition and IP in the European context. Naturally, the global context is considered, nevertheless the top focus aims at the situation in the EU and in EU member states. Policies regarding CSR, unfair competition and IP are highly important for both EU and EU member states, and regarding all these three overlapping fields, the EU has engaged in harmonization efforts.[2]

Globalization, virtualization with the Internet as its flagship, the past crises coupled with the fear of future crises, the modern European integration and its leading strategy Europe 2020, all these provide the background. The background where an eager, often even aggressive, competition takes place, where the key assets and instruments are IP assets and where the sustainability concerns have been growing. The Author has been studying and extensively publishing on the topic of CSR, competition and IP for two decades. She has, during this time, observed various approaches, purposes and goals of the law creating and protecting the IP and of the law fighting against unfair commercial practices in various jurisdictions.[3] In sum, the EU harmonization attempts, under the umbrella of the strategy Europe 2020 for the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, should lead to a multi-stakeholder model and mutual support, i.e. that the sustainability motivates businesses to go for CSR which will make the competition more fair and IP assets more prominent. Well, there are several challenges and perhaps even flaws targeting the feasibility and legality of this entire mechanism. Last but not least, the European nations and European jurisdictions share different traditions and conceptual founding. For example, common law jurisdictions are more inclined to have a liberal approach to commercial practices and a less formal approach to IP, while continental law jurisdictions go for a special unfair competition law and are reluctant to provide a robust protection for unregistered industrial property assets. However, due to the modern European integration, the EU law stepped into it in a radical manner and brought forth a set of instruments, including the one-decade strategy Europe 2020 and the Directive 2005/29/EC concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market (“Unfair Commercial Practices Directive” or “UCPD”).[4]

The Author is well aware of the overwhelming extent entailing such an ambitious research question as whether the current perception and setting of the CSR can or cannot help in the fight for fair competition and IP in the European context. Indeed, an academically robust assessment of the feasibility, effectiveness and efficiency of the potentional of CSR to support the fairness of the commercial practices and the development of the IP assets, in particular inventions, innovations, and proper labelling in the EU can hardly be achieved in a full extent by this pioneering monograph. Instead, this monograph is one of the first steps in a long journey which needs to be done.

The ultimate goal of this monograph is to consolidate current multi-disciplinary knowledge and offer leads for further research. Although sustainability with CSR, competition and fair commercial practices and IP are pivotal for one’s success in 21st century, their foundations are products of our civilization with it roots firmly embedded in Christianity. These point to arithmetic and geometric justice, recognition of talents and commanding us to develop them, prohibition of reckleness and waste, recognition of the love as charity, etc. Ultimately, these concepts lead to the respect for all three sustainability pillars (economic, environmental and social, aka people, planet and profit), determination for creativity, both collective and individual responsibility and ownership and knowledge — Scientia potentia est[5] and Faber est suae quisque fortunae.[6] Consequently, the monograph is split into a set of related but not strictly dependent chapters addressing these issues. They follow a logical path, but can also be understood and used individually and without the need to study the content of other chapters, if so desired. The work culminates in semi-conclusions in each individual chapter and in the final conclusion.

The mentioned research question whether the current perception and setting of the CSR can or cannot help in the fight for fair competition and IP in the European context, and the mentioned ultimate goal to consolidate current multi-disciplinary knowledge and offer leads for further research, are projected in two hypotheses. Firstly, that the potential of the CSR to support fair commercial practices and in general the fair competition is underdeveloped (H1). Secondly, that the potential of the CSR to support inventions, innovations and proper labelling and, in general IP, as such is underdeveloped (H2).

The understanding of the sustainability, CSR, fair competition and IP and their potential for mutual support and synergy, along with the EU harmonization saga and national particularities concerns, is pivotal not only for economic, environmental and social aspects, but in addition testifies a lot about many highly relevant aspects of the modern European integration. The potential of the CSR to support fair commercial practices and IP must be properly understood and fully explored. The way to it leads over the enhancement of awareness and commitment.

 

[1] MacGREGOR PELIKÁNOVÁ, Radka. Ekonomické, právní a technické aspekty doménových jmen v globální perspektivě [Economic, Legal and Technical Aspects of Domain Names in the Global Perspective]. Ostrava, Czech Republic: Key Publishing, 2012. 245 p. ISBN 978-80-7418-165-8. MacGREGOR PELIKÁNOVÁ, Radka. Domain names: Their nature, functions, significance and value. Saarbrücken, GE Lambert Academic Press, 2014, 273 p. ISBN 978-3-659-62653-1. MacGREGOR PELIKÁNOVÁ, Radka. Selected current aspects and issues of European integration. Ostrava, CZ: Key Publishing, 2014, 186 p. ISBN 978-80-7418-226-6. MacGREGOR PELIKÁNOVÁ, Radka. New trends in perception and use of domain names: Critical and Comparative Analysis of the Modern Domain Name Universe. Ostrava: Key Publishing and Praha: MUP Press, 2015, 144 p. ISBN 978-80-7418-251-8. MacGREGOR PELIKÁNOVÁ, Radka. European drive for fair competition: nature and impact of the harmonized protection against unfair commerical practices. Ostrava: Key Publishing and Praha: MUP Press, 2018. ISBN 978-80-7638-001-1.

[2] MacGREGOR PELIKÁNOVÁ, Radka. Selected current aspects and issues of European integration. Ostrava, CZ: Key Publishing, 2014, 186 p. ISBN 978-80-7418-226-6.

[3] MacGREGOR PELIKÁNOVÁ, Radka. European drive for fair competition: nature and impact of the harmonized protection against unfair commerical practices. Ostrava: Key Publishing and Praha: MUP Press, 2018. ISBN 978-80-7638-001-1.

[4] MacGREGOR PELIKÁNOVÁ, Radka. European drive for fair competition: nature and impact of the harmonized protection against unfair commerical practices. Ostrava: Key Publishing and Praha: MUP Press, 2018. ISBN 978-80-7638-001-1.

[5] BACON, Francis or HOBBES Thomas in Leviathan (1668). Knowledge is power.

[6] CAECUS, Appius Claudius. Every man is the artisan of his own fortune.

Cover for Corporate Social Responsibility for fair commercial practices and intellectual property: real potential?
Published
December 31, 2019

Details about this monograph

ISBN-13 (15)
978-83-65605-15-3
Date of first publication (11)
2019
doi
10.24136/eep.mon.2019.1