European Parliament DG for External Policies Policy Department Report Recommends Against “Unconditional Consent” for ACTA

The EU Directorate General for External Policies has issued a report on ACTA in advance of this fall’s debate over ratification.  Its primary recommendation is that “unconditional consent would be an inappropriate response from the European Parliament given the issues that have been identified with ACTA at it stands.” The report argues that ACTA technically does not conflict with the TRIPS Agreement or the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, but “the manner in which member states implement the ACTA may pose problems.”  Regarding ACTA’s conformity with the EU Acquis:  “in some cases, ACTA is arguably more ambitious than EU law, providing a degree of protection that appears to go beyond the limits established in EU law.”  Click here for more.

22 U.S. Representatives: Use IP Language in Korea FTA as Baseline for TPP Negotiations

A July 13 letter from 22 Members of Congress to President Obama asks the administration to seek high standards for intellectual property protection in the Trans Pacific Partnership, and to use the provisions in the pending Korea-US Free Trade Agreement as a model:  “We believe the TPP IP provisions should build upon the high standards for IP protection contained in the most recently concluded U.S. free trade agreement – the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (“KORUS) – and U.S. law.  We urge your administration to use KORUS as a baseline for negotiation with our TPP partners, and to table text at the next round of TPP negotiations in September based upon the high IP Standards embodied in KORUS.” Click here for the letter.

An Australian Analysis of the February 2011 Leaked US TPPA IP Chapter Text

Kimberlee Weatherall from University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law has written a detailed analysis of the copyright and IP enforcement provisions of the US proposed text for the IP chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership that was leaked last February.  She describes the text as a “mash-up” of provisions found in the Australia-US Free Trade agreement and ACTA.  Her summary lists sixteen examples of proposed TPP provisions that would clash with Australian law: parallel importation; copyright term; anti-circumvention and RMI laws; rights in sound recordings; presumptions patent and trademark validity; damages and statutory damages; the privacy of alleged infringers; protection of commercial information in customs disputes; seizure of in-transit goods; customs determinations of infringement; criminal provisions; criminal liability for labels; camcording; aiding and abetting; sentencing guidelines; and online safe harbors.  Click here for more.

Australian Ambassador Says Australia Will Not Change Tobacco Packaging Law in Response to Trademark Concerns

Australian Ambassador Kim Beasley has vowed that Australia will not change the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act, which prohibits cigarette packs from displaying brands and logos, despite accusations that the law violates international trademark law.  According to Inside U.S. Trade, last week Beasley “dismissed U.S. companies’ claims that the plain packaging law… unjustifiably restricts the use of their trademarks in violation of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.” Philip Morris has also served a notice of claim on the Australian government, announcing its intention to challenge the law as a violation of the Australia’s investment treaty with Hong Kong.  Click here for more.