Global organizations provide governments with recommendations on anti-conterfeiting trade agreement
ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) and the International Trademark Association (INTA) today announced the submission of their joint recommendations and comments on the consolidated text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The organizations’ comments were sent to the negotiators, who are meeting in Lucerne, Switzerland starting Monday, 28 June.
“We express strong support for the objectives of ACTA, which is to build on international rules in intellectual property, and to ensure that businesses and consumers are protected from the harms that counterfeiting and piracy can bring,” said INTA Executive Director, Alan Drewsen. “We believe that our comments reflect those goals, and encourage the negotiators to consider them during the meeting.”
To ensure that ACTA has a significant effect on combating counterfeiting and piracy, ICC BASCAP and INTA submitted recommendations which include:
- Maintaining the original, narrow scope of ACTA to trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy for ACTA’s effective implementation in different countries. Currently, the scope of draft text of the agreement includes a wide range of intellectual property rights, which risks diluting the focus and overall strength of the trade agreement.
- Ensuring that customs authorities are expressly given the authority to seize goods in transit that are suspected of being counterfeit and pirated whatever their final destination.
- Removing the de minimis provision, which excludes small quantities of counterfeits of non-commercial nature contained in personal luggage or in small consignments from customs seizures.
While, we support the stated objective of ACTA with regards to targeting counterfeiting and piracy activities that significantly affect commercial interests rather than the activities of ordinary citizens, we believe making an explicit exception that permits travelers to bring in goods for personal use sends a wrong message to consumers that buying counterfeits is accepted by the government.
ACTA negotiators include representatives from the United States, the European Union, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico and South Korea. The meeting in Lucerne will be the countries’ ninth round of negotiations. If signed, ACTA would be one of the first international agreements designed specifically to combat counterfeiting and piracy in a harmonized and coordinated way.
“Counterfeiting and piracy – both physical and online – are, by every measure, rampant global problems that in order to be addressed require better international resolve and cooperation. ACTA has the potential to deliver this resolve. We support ACTA, and we believe that it merits widespread support from governments, industries, economies and constituencies it seeks to protect,” said Jean Rozwadowski, ICC Secretary General.
INTA and ICC BASCAP will continue to watch the negotiations closely, and are able and willing to assist negotiating governments as the draft develops.