December 25, 2010

A Vienna loophole of ACTA for the United States

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Question for written answer to the Commission, Françoise Castex (S&D): ACTA

Article 1.2 of the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) states the following: ‘Each Party shall be free to determine the appropriate method of implementing the provisions of this Agreement within its own legal system and practice.’

At recent meetings in Washington the US Trade Representative has told other US agencies, NGOs and legislators that ACTA is not binding and that its Article 1.2 allows for complete flexibility in respect of any US legal provision that might contradict ACTA.

Indeed, Articles 2.2 and 2.X of ACTA, which deal with damages and injunctions respectively, are at odds with the ‘US Affordable Care Act’, which places clear limits on remedies for infringements of patents on medicines. Nevertheless, the US authorities deny that ACTA requires a change in US law.

Could the Commission clarify to what degree ACTA is a binding or voluntary agreement, given that the US apparently does not believe its laws must be consistent with ACTA? […]

Commissioner De Gucht on behalf of the Commission (15.12.2010, P-9179/10EN)

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a binding international agreement on all its parties, as defined and subject to the rules of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969). […]

Important to know

The USA did not ratify the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.