ACTA anti-piracy negotiations conclude

Draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement due soon

The Japanese Government has confirmed that the 11th and final round of the negotiations for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) have been concluded.

The negotiations, finalised at the weekend in Tokyo, included participants from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the European Union and US among other countries.

According to the Japanese Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the negotiations sought to establish a “comprehensive, first-time, international framework” to assist parties in the agreement in combating the infringement of intellectual property rights, in particular the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy.

“[The ACTA agreement] will include state-of-the-art provisions on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, including provisions on civil, criminal, and border enforcement measures, robust cooperation mechanisms among ACTA Parties to assist in their enforcement efforts, and establishment of best practices for effective IPR enforcement,” a statement from the Japanese government reads.

The government said that informal meetings with stakeholders, including representatives from non-governmental organisations and business leaders, had been held during the week of negotiations in order to give these parties the opportunity to “interact and discuss” the issues concerned with the ACTA.

“Participants in the negotiations constructively resolved nearly all substantive issues and produced a consolidated and largely finalized text of the proposed agreement, which will be submitted ad referendum to their respective authorities,” the Japanese Government statement reads.

“The participants agreed to work expeditiously to resolve the small number of outstanding issues that require further examination in capitals, with a view to finalizing the text of the agreement as promptly as possible.”

To date the discussions around the ACTA have been dogged by controversy with concerns emerging during September in the EU that the agreement could infringe individual civil liberties and result in increased border searches for counterfeit and pirated goods.

In June, approximately 650 people, including 11 members of the European Union Parliament and about 90 intellectual property (IP) professors, have signed a document saying the international IP enforcement agreement being negotiated by the U.S. and 36 other countries "threatens numerous public interests."

According to the statement, the participants in the ACTA negotiations would publicly release the text of the agreement shortly.

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