Anti-Counterfeiting Pact Negotiations Conclude, Final Text Released
10/07/10Source: World Trade Interactive
Related Topics: International Trade
Three years of negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement concluded Oct. 2 with an announcement that consensus has been reached on “nearly all substantive issues” covered by the controversial pact. Participants will now work to resolve a “small number of outstanding issues” with the goal of finalizing the agreement “as promptly as possible.” In the meantime, the current ACTA text has been made available for public review (see attached).
According to a joint statement from the negotiating parties, ACTA aims to establish a first-ever comprehensive, international framework that will help countries to effectively combat the infringement of intellectual property rights, in particular the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy, which undermines legitimate trade and the sustainable development of the world economy. The agreement includes “state-of-the-art” provisions, including civil, criminal and border enforcement measures, mechanisms for enforcement cooperation among ACTA parties and best practices. Officials have said previously that ACTA is targeted at large-scale infringement, organized crime and potential threats to public safety, and the preamble to the agreement emphasizes that IPR enforcement measures should not themselves become barriers to legitimate trade.
In August, responding to concerns that the deal had been negotiated in secrecy and could contain drastic new requirements, participants released a statement asserting that ACTA is not intended to include new intellectual property rights or to enlarge or diminish existing rights, will not hinder the cross-border transit of legitimate generic medicines, will not include patents in the section on border measures and will not oblige border authorities to search travelers’ baggage or personal electronic devices for infringing materials. It appears that the agreement text released this week supports those claims.
ACTA was negotiated among the U.S., the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland, which together account for about half of global trade. Other countries will be encouraged to join as well. Press reports indicate, however, that China, which is the source of the majority of IPR-infringing goods seized in the U.S. and the EU, has no apparent interest in taking part.
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