Proposed multilateral agreement to combat counterfeiting moving forward
ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) and the International Trademark Association (INTA) today welcomed news that the Council of Ministers had confirmed the proposed mandate authorizing the European Commission to open negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) between the EU and key economic partners, including the United States, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and New Zealand.
In October 2007, the United States, European Union, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and New Zealand announced that they had reached a tentative agreement on a framework for a new multi-lateral agreement intended to establish a stronger set of common standards for intellectual property enforcement among their countries.
Following several months of internal discussions among European Union Member States, it was announced on 14 April that an agreement had finally been reached which would allow negotiations to start in earnest.
BASCAP and INTA had recently called for the negotiations on the new anti-counterfeiting agreement to begin as soon as possible and thus warmly welcomed this announcement.
“We are very pleased to see the speed with which ACTA is moving forward and is being embraced by those seated at the European Union’s negotiating table. The actions outlined in this agreement have the potential to significantly raise the profile and the protection of trademarks and we are optimistic to see it become a reality,” said INTA Executive Director, Alan C. Drewsen.
ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban welcomed the progress announced by the negotiating parties but added some words of caution: “In order to be relevant, ACTA must deliver significant improvements over existing multilateral guidelines by establishing stronger international standards for government performance on intellectual property enforcement.”
Once fully ratified, ACTA would provide for stronger international coordination, agreement on the best enforcement practices and alignment on provisions of legal frameworks to ensure that adequate criminal, civil and border protection measures are in place.