December 16, 2011

EP Legal Affairs Committee newsletter very positive about ACTA

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The JURI Report, the newsletter of the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee, is a very positive about ACTA.

“Thus, it will provide benefits for EU exporting right holders operating in the global market who currently suffer systematic and widespread infringements of their copyrights, trademarks, patents, designs and geographical indications abroad.”

Not a word about all the civil society and academic criticism on ACTA. The critical European Parliament INTA study is not mentioned.

The report probably reflects the views of rapporteur Marielle Gallo, MEP, who will write the Legal Affairs committee Opinion on ACTA.

The Committee will discuss ACTA on 20 December 2011, 10.00 – 12.30

A stream will be available here.

The Report on ACTA:

Further to the adoption of the negotiating directives by the Council on 14 April 2008, negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement between the EU and its Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the USA (ACTA) were launched on 3 June 2008. The agreement was concluded on 15 November 2010 and the text was initialled on 25 November, after 11 rounds of negotiations. The current proposal concerns the Parliament’s consent to the conclusion of ACTA by the Council on behalf of the EU.

The EU Member States were kept informed of the negotiations orally and in writing. The European Parliament has been kept informed on developments via its Committee on International Trade (INTA) and by Commissioner Karl De Gucht in three plenary debates in 2010. On 24 November 2010, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution supporting ACTA.

ACTA aims to establish a comprehensive international framework that will assist the EU in its efforts effectively to combat infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR), which undermine legitimate trade and the EU’s competitiveness with negative repercussions on growth and jobs.

Although ACTA does not aim at modifying the EU acquis it will introduce a new international standard, building upon the World Trade Organisation’s TRIPS Agreement (adopted in 1994). Thus, it will provide benefits for EU exporting right holders operating in the global market who currently suffer systematic and widespread infringements of their copyrights, trademarks, patents, designs and geographical indications abroad.

ACTA contains a number of provisions on criminal enforcement that fall within the scope of Article 83(2) TFEU. Those parts of the agreement, in contradistinction to those parts falling under Article 207, fall under the area of shared competences (Article 2(2) TFEU). Where a matter falls under shared competence either the European Union or Member States may legislate and adopt legally binding acts.

The Commission’s position as regards ACTA and Article 83(2) TFEU is without prejudice to the position of the Commission on the future exercise by the EU of the shared competences foreseen by Article 83(2) TFEU as regards other initiatives.

Regarding the signature and conclusion of ACTA, the Commission has opted not to propose that the European Union exercise its potential competence in the area of criminal enforcement pursuant to Article 83(2) TFEU. The Commission considers this appropriate because it has never been the intention, as regards the negotiation of ACTA, to modify the EU acquis or to harmonise EU legislation as regards criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights. For this reason, the Commission proposes that ACTA be signed and concluded both by the EU and by all the Member States.

The Parliament’s Legal Service has been requested by the INTA and JURI committees to provide legal opinions on ACTA.

At this meeting the committee will hold a first exchange of views with the rapporteur Marielle Gallo taking the lead in the debate.