[ffii] When the Camembert tops democratic governance

Office FFII e.V. office at ffii.org
Wed Sep 15 01:50:20 CEST 2010

[ Europe / Patent / ACTA]
When the Camembert tops democratic governance

Berlin, Sept 15th 2010 -- A European Parliament majority accepted a
written declaration on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
which iterates the calls to European Commissioner Karel de Gucht for more
legislative transparency.

In a speech before the European Parliament Commissioner Karel De Gucht
threatened the United States to leave negotiations when geographical
indications would be "discriminated", that is excluded from the scope of
the negotiations on ACTA. Geographical indications cover, for instance,
camembert de Normandie, parmesan cheese or champagne, and other marks of
origin. The United States oppose their inclusion in ACTA. The United
States also aim to keep the negotiated ACTA draft text confidential.

"The European Parliament keeps asking Commissioner de Gucht to disclose
ACTA documents. It is their fourth official request. De Gucht threatenes
to leave the negotiations for the Camembert's sake, but not for openness.
The Treaties and democracy deserve far more respect", argues FFII
Vice-President René Mages.

"ACTA is a way of removing legislative competences even further away from
the control of any elected legislators. After the IPR lobbies have
circumvented the nation states by means of the EU, now they are
circumventing the EU", adds FFII founder Hartmut Pilch.

Negotiating trade administrations defend their "forum shopping" through
ACTA by the unwillingness of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). WTO
members do not accept enforcement standards which go beyond the 1994 TRIPS
agreement. Nations participating in the UN World Intellectual Property
Organisation (WIPO) find the current level of international enforcement
laws sufficient and refuse to negotiate a counterfeiting treaty. WIPO
administers several global copyright, patent and trademark treaties.

The current ACTA draft comprises chapters with civil and criminal
sanctions against infringements of IPR, customs control and enforcement in
the digital environment. The civil measures correspond to the EU IPR
Enforcement directive, the criminal chapter corresponds to the pending
criminal enforcement directive proposal ("IPRED2") which lacks consensus
among EU member states to be adopted in the Council. The ACTA draft
includes penal sanctions on patent infringement which are explicitly
excluded in the IPRED2 process. The Digital Chapter induces measures such
as internet filtering which failed political acceptance during the
European Telecom package debate.

René Mages stresses that ACTA's scope remains completely unsaturated:
"Consider Articles 5 and 6 of the latest leaks. A Politburo, the ACTA
Committee, is free to amend the ACTA agreement. ACTA would create a
parallel legislature without democratic controls."

The next round of ACTA negotiations is set to take place in Tokyo by the
end of September.


European Parliament Written Declaration 12

FFII ACTA analysis

Latest draft text, unauthorised release by U.S. consumer organisation KEI,
Aug 25 2010

Permanent link to this press release:


Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-484-56 61 09 (mobile)
bhenrion at ffii.org

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European
countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the
public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More
than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted
the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning
exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

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