Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - Negotiations - Negotiation Mandates and Positions - European Union

European Union

A draft Report from 26 August 2008 by the European Commission tried to establish a mandate from the European Parliament for the negotiation of ACTA. On 25 September 2008 the Council of the European Union adopted a resolution in support of ACTA. In November 2008 the European Commission described ACTA as an attempt to enforce intellectual property rights and states that countries involved in the negotiations see intellectual property rights as "a key instrument for their development and innovation policies". It argues:

The proliferation of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements poses an ever-increasing threat to the sustainable development of the world economy. It is a problem with serious economic and social consequences. Today, we face a number of new challenges: the increase of dangerous counterfeit goods (pharmaceuticals, food and drink, cosmetics or toys, car parts); the speed and ease of digital reproduction; the growing importance of the Internet as a means of distribution; and the sophistication and resources of international counterfeiters. All these factors have made the problem more pervasive and harder to tackle. —

In March 2010, a leaked draft negotiation text showed that the European Commission had proposed language in ACTA to require criminal penalties for "inciting, aiding and abetting" certain offenses, including "at least in cases of willful trademark counterfeiting and copyright or related rights piracy on a commercial scale." In a report published on 11 March 2009, the European Parliament called on the European Commission to "immediately make all documents related to the ongoing international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) publicly available".

The European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the transparency and state of play of the ACTA negotiations stated that "according to documents leaked, the ACTA negotiations touch on, among other things, pending EU legislation regarding the enforcement of IPRs (COD/2005/0127 – Criminal measures aimed at assuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRED-II)) and the so-called "Telecoms Package" and on existing EU legislation regarding e-commerce and data protection." The resolution furthermore states, "whereas the ongoing EU efforts to harmonise IPR enforcement measures should not be circumvented by trade negotiations which are outside the scope of normal EU decision-making processes." Also, that the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs), including patent, trademark, and copyright law, must be "accomplished in a manner that does not impede innovation or competition, undermine IPR limitations and personal data protection, restrict the free flow of information or unduly burden legitimate trade."

The resolution called for the European Commission and the European Council to "grant public and parliamentary access to ACTA negotiation texts and summaries, in accordance with" the Lisbon Treaty and "Regulation 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents." In the resolution, the European Parliament "deplores the calculated choice of the parties not to negotiate through well-established international bodies, such as WIPO and WTO, which have established frameworks for public information and consultation". The European Parliament asserted that under the Treaty of Lisbon the European Commission needed to provide "immediate and full information" to the European Parliament on international treaties, such as ACTA. The resolution also "stresses that, unless Parliament is immediately and fully informed at all stages of the negotiations, it reserves its right to take suitable action, including bringing a case before the Court of Justice in order to safeguard its prerogatives".

Read more about this topic:  Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, Negotiations, Negotiation Mandates and Positions

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