Feeds

European Commission asks for new IP protection layer

WIPO 'not flexible enough'

The essential guide to IT transformation

The European Commission wants to create a new layer of intellectual property protections because it says existing structures such as WIPO are not flexible enough.

The commission is seeking EU member states' permission to negotiate new trade agreements with a list of specific countries, including the US, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and New Zealand. The aim of the agreements will be the enforcement of intellectual property rights and combating piracy.

The commission wants to create the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which will create "high-level international framework that strengthens the global enforcement of intellectual property rights and helps in the fight to protect consumers from the health and safety risks associated with many counterfeit products".

The permission of the EU member states is needed before such agreements can be negotiated, and the commission is now formally seeking that permission.

The activity envisaged by the plan is more usually undertaken by trade bodies such as the World Trade Organisation, the G8 group of industrialised nations, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). A commission statement, though, said that it felt it needed more room to manoeuvre than those bodies provided.

"We feel that the approach of a free-standing agreement gives us the most flexibility to pursue this project among interested countries," said a statement. "We fully support the important work of the G8, WTO, and WIPO, all of which touch on intellectual property rights enforcement. The membership and priorities of those organisations simply are not the most conducive to this kind of path breaking project."

The proposal of the new body highlights the worries of some economies about the piracy threat posed by countries without similar traditions of intellectual property rights enforcement.

"The EU is consistently pushing countries like China to enforce anti-counterfeiting legislation and to toughen the legal penalties for intellectual property theft," said the commission statement. "Closer coordination on international benchmarks can reinforce this pressure."

ACTA is designed to create a common approach between member nations in relation to the punishment of counterfeiting and piracy. It may also plan to change the law in some member countries. One of its aims is listed as "creating a strong modern legal framework which reflects the changing nature of intellectual property theft in the global economy".

The commission said the creation of the new body was necessary to deal with new threats. It said 130 million fake products were seized at EU borders, an increase of 40 per cent on the previous year. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said trade in fake goods represented two per cent of world trade. It said physical trade in counterfeit goods was worth $200bn a year.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.