[A2k] Reuters: NGO sees renewed push in counterfeiting talks in Tokyo
thiru at keionline.org
Thu Sep 23 09:50:52 PDT 2010
NGO sees renewed push in counterfeiting talks in Tokyo
Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:05pm EDT
By Jonathan Lynn
GENEVA (Reuters) - Nearly 40 countries are launching a renewed push
for an anti-counterfeiting accord in Tokyo this week, a non-
governmental organization monitoring the secretive talks said on
Thursday. Civil society critics of the negotiations say the new deal
would provide a platform for rich nations to impose on developing
countries tough intellectual property rules that go well beyond
existing global agreements.
They say that could disrupt trade in legitimate generic drugs going to
poor countries by allowing searches and seizures of the products when
in transit in participating countries, something that has already
occurred in the European Union. James Love, president of Knowledge
Ecology International, a non-governmental organization (NGO)
monitoring intellectual property questions, said the Tokyo talks could
try to narrow the scope of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
"There's been a lot of criticism that under the title of an anti-
counterfeiting agreement they've tried to throw a lot of other things
into the agreement that have nothing to do with counterfeits or
piracy," he told reporters.
This would pit the European Union, which wants ACTA to cover a broad
range of intellectual property issues, against the United States,
where in recent months businesses have grown worried that ACTA could
extend criminal sanctions into questions of patent infringement now
settled by civil litigation.
The talks are of interest not only to makers of brand-name and generic
drugs, but also to media companies like Time Warner and Hollywood film
producers, makers of luxury goods, and Internet service providers and
other Web firms that could come under pressure to police content more
Love said the ACTA talks were so secretive that the governments
involved were not even revealing the list of officials participating
or the agendas of meetings. The latest round in Tokyo will run until
the end of the month.
Only one draft text has been published, on the orders of the European
Parliament, and other texts have been leaked.
"It allows the negotiators to lie about what's in the text -- which
has often been the case," Love told reporters.
European negotiators had repeatedly argued ACTA would not affect
access to drugs because it would not cover patents, but the texts
suggested it could extend to patents, he said.
European officials say ACTA aims to tackle a flood of counterfeit
drugs posing a health threat as well as other pirated goods that
undermine innovation, while generic drugs are a matter of patent
India has launched a dispute at the World Trade Organization over EU
seizures of generics en route to Brazil.
The August 25 draft of the ACTA text obtained by the NGO shows the EU
wants it to cover intellectual property, which could include patents,
while the United States and some other countries talk only of
trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy, though retaining the
option to extend it to other areas.
David Kappos, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,
confirmed that ACTA talks were taking place but declined to give
details of the U.S. position.
"The United States would very much like to see ACTA concluded and
supply a viable means for improved enforcement of intellectual
property rights," he told a news conference.
The EU is also keen for ACTA to provide protection to geographical
indicators -- names of foods and drinks based on a place of origin
such as Champagne or Parma -- an approach resisted by the United
States and other New World producers.
The talks involve the United States, the European Union and its 27
member states, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South
Korea and Switzerland, and two developing countries -- Morocco and
(Editing by Tim Pearce)
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org
Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997
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