Intellectual property rights are crucial for encouraging creativity and innovation. They contribute significantly to employment and GDP within the EU. The IP system is of both economic and social importance. Intellectual property has global significance also. EU IP systems and rights must therefore work well not only within the EU and its Member States, but also within the complex international context. The EU IP system must also be regarded with confidence by stakeholders. Protection of IP rights is important, but so is access to intellectual property. From a very high-level view, harmonizing EU schemes has worked well on the whole. Nevertheless, reform and improvement remain a continuing priority, and the environment is challenging and rapidly changing. The Unitary Patent seems about to come into effect, though its success remains to be demonstrated.