A Commentary on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
Elgar Commentaries series
The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights (‘TRIPS Agreement’), which was adopted by the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994 and which came into effect in 1995, contained a battery of enforcement measures to deal with a growing trade in counterfeit and pirate products which was estimated to be worth US$60 billion annually. Ten years later this trade was estimated to have grown at least ten fold. At the TRIPS Council meeting in June 2006 the EU had called for an ‘in-depth discussion’ of enforcement issues.1 This proposal met with strong opposition from the leading developing countries such as Argentina, Brazil, China and India, who considered the enforcement issue a diversion from the Doha Development Agenda. At the TRIPS Council meeting in October 2006, the EU, with support from Japan, Switzerland and the US, submitted a joint communication which asserted that the TRIPS Council was ‘an appropriate forum to examine and assist Members in the implementation of enforcement provisions of the TRIPS Agreement’ and that the work of the TRIPS Council ‘should complement Members’ efforts to use other cooperative mechanisms to address IPR enforcement’.2 These efforts to raise the issue of enforcement at the WTO were unsuccessful. Contemporaneously with these initiatives, at the WTO Japan had proposed a Treaty on Non-proliferation of Counterfeits and Pirated Goods at meetings of the Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy hosted by INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization in 2005 and 2006. The increasing estimates of...