Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Paul Torremans
Chapter 19: ACTA and cross-border enforcement of intellectual property
The promulgation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) is explained as originating as a response to the frustration which principally the US and the EU shared about the inadequacy of the existing international IPR regime to deal with the growth of counterfeiting and piracy. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was identified by industry lobbyists as a more effective agency for the effective enforcement of IPRs because it contained the sanctions of withdrawal of tariff preferences for developing countries which were perceived to be an important source of infringing goods, as well as the GATT dispute resolution system. Drahos and Sell have charted the detail of the role played by these lobbyists in the TRIPS negotiations. The creation of the WTO as the body responsible for the administration of the GATT and of the TRIPS Agreement suggested that IPR enforcement would be placed on a sound footing. In 1986 when the Uruguay Round was launched the size of the global trade in counterfeit goods was estimated to be $US 60 billion. However, within ten years of the commencement of the TRIPS Agreement estimates were published of a more than ten-fold increase in counterfeiting and piracy to at least $US 650 billion annually, although Fink et al., Yager and Chow question the accuracy of these statistics. Reichman and Lange drew attention to the weakness of the enforcement provisions of TRIPS.
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