A Commentary on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
- Elgar Commentaries series
Chapter 2: Negotiating ACTA
THE EMERGENCE OF IP ENFORCEMENT AS A GATT ISSUE Concern with the impact of counterfeiting piracy upon international trade dates back to the late 1970s. The explosion in the counterfeiting of branded goods and the perceived inability of the UN’s specialist intellectual property agency, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), to deal with this burgeoning trade precipitated the search for a more effective alternative agency. The initiative appears to have been taken in the spring of 1978 by the Levi Strauss Corporation after the success of its representations to US Customs to strengthen procedures against imports of counterfeits of its trademarked denim jeans. Apparently ‘encouraged by the adoption of codes of agreement during the Tokyo Round of GATT negotiations, the company banded together with a group of trademark-sensitive firms and pressed for an anti-counterfeiting code.’1 At that time the International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) was formed2 as a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization to combat product counterfeiting.3 William Walker, the original counsel to the IACC, reported that: A decision was made at the outset of the Levi Strauss deliberations in the spring of 1978 to pursue stronger sanctions against overseas trade in counterfeit merchandise through formal international agreement among governments and it was felt that a multilateral negotiation was preferable to multiple bilateral efforts. In seeking suitable 1 P. Doremus, ‘The Externalisation of Domestic Regulation: Intellectual Property Rights Reform in a Global Era’, (1995–1996) 3 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 341 at p.357. 2 The exact date of the formation...
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