[Ip-health] ACTA Inconsistent With European Law, Legal Experts Say

Judit Rius Sanjuan judit.rius at keionline.org
Sun Jan 23 12:39:08 PST 2011

ACTA Inconsistent With European Law, Legal Experts Say

Intellectual Property Watch
23 January 2011

By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch @ 3:29 pm
The recently completed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is not fully consistent with European Union law and goes beyond international law in some of its aspects, concluded a group of intellectual property law experts from universities in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Spain.

In an open declaration, they point, for example, to criminal law sanctions not yet harmonised in EU law, but also to border measures extended to simple trademark infringements “based on mere similarity of signs, risk of confusion and even the protection for well-known trademarks against dilution.”

The latter not only is a clear extension of existing EU legislation, “but particularly worrisome for international trade in generic medicines which could be seized based on allegations of ordinary infringements,” the scholars wrote.

EU and broader international law also provide more explicit safeguards, omitted in ACTA alongside the much more detailed provisions of extended IP protection.

The signatories of the declaration – which can be signed by interested parties until 7 February – requests EU institutions and national legislators to withhold consent to ACTA until ACTA has been made compatible with EU law.

Meanwhile, the European Commission (the EU executive branch) still has not addressed a critical question submitted by Liberal Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake about the legal nature of ACTA.

The College of Commissioners still has to accept the ACTA text – expected in early February, according to a Commission spokesperson. Only then can the legislative procedure involving Parliament and the Council of member states begin. Some EU member states also will put ACTA before their national parliaments.

Find the declaration here [pdf].

Find the MEP Schaake’s question here.

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