(World Trade Interactive)
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced Nov. 15 that the text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has been finalized after participants resolved the “few issues that remained outstanding after the final round of negotiations.” Following legal verification of the drafting the agreement “will be ready to be submitted to the participants’ respective authorities to undertake relevant domestic processes.” Those that have taken part in the ACTA negotiations include Australia, Canada, the European Union and its 27 member countries, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.S.
According to a USTR press release, ACTA aims to establish a comprehensive international framework that will assist signatories in their efforts to effectively combat the infringement of intellectual property rights, in particular the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy, that undermines legitimate trade and the sustainable development of the world economy. The agreement includes state-of-the-art provisions on IPR enforcement, including civil, criminal, border and digital environment enforcement measures, mechanisms for enforcement cooperation 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.
Date: November 16, 2010