[A2k] Notes on Japan ACTA Meeting Emerge

Sean Flynn sflynn at wcl.american.edu
Wed Sep 29 10:37:45 PDT 2010

Notes on ACTA Meeting Emerge

Sean Flynn
September 27,  2010


Last Friday September 24, ACTA host Japan sponsored a lunch mixer with
NGOs and almost no one came. By one account, there may have been as few
at three NGOs there. Requests to the Japan and US delegations to release
a list of who attended the meeting have gone unanswered. But a few
details have begun to emerge. There is little to counter the widespread
perception that the meeting was designed to thwart rather than engage
the expression of civil society views on the negotiation.  

The meeting was an informal lunch with negotiators scattered at tables
rather than structured in a means for dialogue. This is similar to the
D.C. "mixer" and in contrast to Lucerne. In Lucerne the delegates
requested written questions in advance and answered them in a structured
dialogue around a conference table. Everything was on the record, which
led to many news stories based on meeting notes released from those
present. In DC and now Tokyo the engagement was more informal with no
opportunities for formal question and answers of the group. 

Representatives of Oxfam, Creative Commons and perhaps one or two other
grops were reported to be at the meeting. According to one attendee who
arrived late, there were very few open seats where NGOs could sit with
negotiators. Mostly the tables appeared to be of egotiators eating with
other negotiators.  

Those negotiators present were "not inclined to say much," but some
discussions were had. 

A delegate from Australia stated that the scope of the agreement is "by
far" largest issue at hand. It being only the first day of the
negotiation, not much had been discussed or moved forward. 

Some have reported that the issue of safeguards is on the table during
the meeting. Australia is one of the parties that wants more safeguards
mentioned in the agreement. One justification being used for the
inclusion of stronger safeguards is to promote more countries becoming a
member "down the road." 

It has been reported that the United States expressed its position that
the scope of the Agreement should be limited to willful trademark
counterfeiting and commercial scale copyright infringement. The US is
arguing that there is less of a need to include access to medicines
safeguard language in the agreement if patents are not included.

Masahiko Saito, Head of Delegation from Japan stated that he "can
assure" that the scope of intellectual property covered will differ
amongst chapters in the final agreement.     

There is apparently an ongoing discussion over the language in the
border measures chapter making coverage of patents optional. Some
countries oppose including either the opt out of the EU or opt in of the
US, preferring instead to avoid reference to broader IP rights in the
text. This is the public interest position
ement-and-border-provisions> . 

The Japanese delegate stated that the ACTA institution "is not set in
stone," and  some countries are promoting an option in which there would
not be a new ACTA institution established.  

As reported earlier, this meeting was announced Wednesday morning,
effectively blocking the participation of NGOs from the U.S. and EU
given the late notice and incredibly long flights.

Several individuals and organizations, including KEI and EU Members of
Parliament, asked Japan to reschedule the civil society meeting for the
following week when organizations from the US and EU could attend. Japan
refused. Mr. Yoshihiro Takeda of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign
Affairs explained that the meeting would be "an opportunity to exchange
views informally . . ., not a firm consultation." 



Sean Flynn

Associate Director

Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property

American University Washington College of Law

202 274 4157



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