On 11 October 2011 the European Commission decided on a proposal for an ordinance on a common European Convention on the Sale of Goods. The convention is set to further develop the single, standardized European market. At present, when it comes to cross-border trade between companies and overseas purchases by consumers, the 27 different national legal systems of the individual member states continue to apply in spite of the single market, which in practice represents a hindrance to both small-scale exporters and consumers.
By David Smyth, Brooks Pierce
Among the international business community, few law enforcement matters in recent years have attracted as much interest as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"). Enforcement of the FCPA – conducted by both the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") – has been intense and increasing over the last decade. As Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said late last year, "FCPA enforcement is stronger than it's ever been – and getting stronger." And while the FCPA is a United States law, it poses great risks for non-United States companies and individuals; severe liability can follow from disregarding it.
Globalization quickly covers over economic weaknesses. One of Europe's weaknesses is the fact that patent costs are too high when compared internationally. Therefore, in future innovations should become more easily and inexpensively protected with an EU patent. Following successful negotiations regarding European patents with a standardized effect, twelve of the 27 EU Member States decided to suggest to the EU Commission that the process of so-called reinforced cooperation is introduced. This should prevent a blockade by the individual states.