FFII expression of concerns with ACTA

Letter by Ante Wessels, FFII, to members of the European Parliament:

Dear Members of the European Parliament,

We are writing to express our concerns with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
(ACTA). Contrary to Commission statements, ACTA is inconsistent with the EU acquis. Moreover, by still including patents and harsh criminal measures, ACTA threatens legitimate businesses as detailed below. We urge the European Parliament to exclude patents from the scope of ACTA and to obtain the opinion of the Court of Justice as to whether ACTA is compatible with the Treaties. ACTA is inconsistent with the EU acquis. Continue Reading →

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Jędrzejewska (PL, EPP): ACTA

Parliamentary questions 17 August 2010 E-6483/2010
Question for written answer to the Commission  Rule 117
Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska (PPE)

ACTA

The views expressed on the negotiations being conducted by the Commission regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) often stress the high degree of secrecy surrounding the talks. Bearing in mind the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union requiring the European Parliament to be kept informed of any discussions conducted by the Commission in the context of its powers under Title V of that Treaty, and in the light of the written questions previously tabled: 1. Will the Commission initiate a dialogue with the European Parliament on the question of ACTA and, if so, when? 2. Does it consider that the conclusion of an agreement between the EU and ACTA should replace the agreement concluded between the European Union and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) under the WIPO Copyright Treaty adopted in Geneva in 1996? Continue Reading →

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Carl Schlyter (SE,Greens): Injunction powers going beyond those provided for in the EU acquis

Parliamentary questions
20 October 2010 H-0541/2010

Question for Question Time
to the Commission
Part-session: November 2010
Rule 116
Carl Schlyter (Verts/ALE)

Subject: ACTA – injunction powers going beyond those provided for in the EU acquis

In the Civil Enforcement section of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), paragraph 1 of Article 2.X: Injunctions allows judicial authorities to issue an order (injunction) against a party, or a third party, to ‘prevent infringing goods from entering into the channels of commerce’. This injunction power is considerably different from that existing under the EU acquis (Article 9 of the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (Directive 2004/48/EC)), which permits injunctions ‘to prevent any imminent infringement’. Furthermore, the third parties need to be involved in the infringement (‘against an intermediary whose services are being used’). The ACTA text essentially eliminates the thresholds for injunction powers that exist under the EU acquis. Given that, by laying down the thresholds for injunctions, the EU acquis has struck a delicate balance between enforcement and fundamental rights safeguards, how will the Commission ensure that these safeguards under the current EU acquis are maintained? Continue Reading →

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ACTA includes confusingly similar trade mark goods

The latest text of ACTA includes confusingly similar trade mark goods. This is bad for access to essential medicines. In an answer to a parliamentary question, the EU Commission wrote: “b) on the inappropriate seizures of medicines on the strength of mere allegations that trademarks are similar – the introduction of the concept of “confusingly similar trademark is proposed by one of the ACTA partners but not supported by any of the other;”

But ACTA lacks a clear footnote like footnote 27 in the EU – Korea free trade agreement, limiting “goods infringing an intellectual property right” to “(a) counterfeit goods (…)”. ACTA’s criminal measures are limited to counterfeit goods (as far as trademarks are concerned). Some of the civil trademark measures are limited to counterfeit goods. Continue Reading →

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ACTA criminalises ordinary companies and individuals

Brussels, 11 November 2010 — The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) criminalises ordinary companies and individuals, according to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). In an open letter to the European Parliament, the FFII urges the Parliament to obtain the opinion of the Court of Justice as to whether ACTA is compatible with the EU Treaties. In its letter, the FFII points out ACTA’s criminal measures will bring three major changes compared with the 1994 World Trade Organization TRIPS agreement. First, ACTA is not limited to distribution of copyrighted works, but includes unauthorised use. Second, ACTA removes the scale element from the definition of the crime. Continue Reading →

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Emine Bozkurt (S&D, NL): ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)

Question for written answer P-9459/2010 to the Commission
Rule 117 Emine Bozkurt (S&D)

Subject: ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)
The Commission submitted the final text on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) on 6 October. Regarding the text of the agreement and the finalising of the details, can the Commission answer the following questions:

1. The ACTA agreement proposes an annual meeting of signatories where amendments to the Treaty can be negotiated. If that happens, how will the Commission guarantee sufficient European Parliament oversight, scrutiny and participation? The ACTA negotiations have so far been criticised for their lack of open debate, transparency and public participation. Continue Reading →

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European Parliament wants transatlantic ACTA debate

Today adopted: European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on the forthcoming EU-US Summit and the Transatlantic Economic Council

42. Emphasises the importance of close transatlantic cooperation on the digital agenda, such as the digital market, internet freedom in the world, net neutrality, the right of privacy, common standards, transparency and the rule of law in relation to ACTA;

43. Considers it essential to develop a joint EU-US action strategy for the enforcement of intellectual property rights which aims to fight the soaring global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods; calls for the creation of a transatlantic task force to combat counterfeiting as a much-needed sign of political determination to tackle illegal activities which erode the competitiveness of innovative and creative industries, whilst respecting civil liberties, freedom of expression, privacy and due process. Continue Reading →

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Marietje Schaake (D66, NL): ACTA – a law enforcement treaty?

Question for written answer E-8847/2010 to the Commission Rule 117
Marietje Schaake (ALDE)
Subject: ACTA – a law enforcement treaty? There is public concern worldwide about the lack of formal transparency
in the ACTA negotiation process, such as illustrated in the article
‘ACTA Guide, Part Three: Transparency and ACTA Secrecy’, by Professor
Michael Geist (see http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4737/125/). Other articles and open letters can be found at the following shortened
addresses: http://bit.ly/4EdMKK, http://bit.ly/4CJv2n,
http://bit.ly/bdUGlx and http://bit.ly/aQDUO2. Parliament has repeatedly asked the Commission for transparency in the
ACTA negotiations, but to no avail. 1. Continue Reading →

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FFII: ACTA goes beyond present EU laws

Brussels, 25 October 2010 — The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is not in line with present EU laws, according to a Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) analysis. Previously, the European Commission has often stated that ACTA would remain fully in line with existing EU legislation. Health groups have pointed out that ACTA will hamper access to essential medicine in developing countries. FFII’s analysis focusses on the impact ACTA will have on European SMEs in the ICT field, and on diffusion of green technology, needed to fight climate change. The FFII concludes that patents have to be excluded from ACTA’s civil enforcement section. Continue Reading →

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Help to debug the European Commissioner

The Commission often says nice things about ACTA. But as Christian Engström (Pirate MEP) remarked in the European Parliament – “however, when you look at the text …” That is what we want to do, we want to look at the text and check the facts, crowdsource that effort to find “counterfeit legislation” in ACTA. Let’s start with a statement of EU Commissioner Karel de Gucht:
“…EU’s position [in ACTA] is consistent with the provisions of the Copyright in the Information Society Directive(2) including Article 8 thereof, the E-commerce Directive(3), including Articles 12 to 15, on the liability of ISPs), the Enforcement of IPR Directive(4); the Data Protection Directives(5); and with the provisions of the regulatory framework for electronic communications as amended in 2009 with the Telecom Reform package.” Of course you may have noticed the first trick, the term “EU’s position”. Continue Reading →

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Article 83 TFEU

Article 83
(ex Article 31 TEU)
1. The European Parliament and the Council may, by means of directives adopted in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, establish minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the areas of particularly serious crime with a cross-border dimension resulting from the nature or impact of such offences or from a special need to combat them on a common basis. These areas of crime are the following: terrorism, trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of women and children, illicit drug trafficking, illicit arms trafficking, money laundering, corruption, counterfeiting of means of payment, computer crime and organised crime. On the basis of developments in crime, the Council may adopt a decision identifying other areas of crime that meet the criteria specified in this paragraph. It shall act unanimously after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament. Continue Reading →

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ACTA undermining access to medicines (E-4292/2010)

Parliamentary questions 16 June 2010 E-4292/2010 Question for written answer to the Commission  Rule 117
Yannick Jadot (Verts/ALE) , Carl Schlyter (Verts/ALE) , Sandrine Bélier (Verts/ALE) , Christian Engström (Verts/ALE) , Karima Delli (Verts/ALE) and Oriol Junqueras Vies (Verts/ALE)

Subject: Lack of safeguards in ACTA undermining access to medicines

In the WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Council), the enforcement of intellectual property rights is a topic of formal discussion including, but not limited to, discussion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The WTO is also the forum in which India and Brazil are pursuing consultations with the EU over seizures of in-transit generic drugs on grounds of alleged patent infringement. Our reading of ACTA is that it pursues tighter enforcement but without the balance and safeguards embodied in the TRIPS Agreement (e.g. Articles 1, 6, 7, 8, 30, 31, 40, 41, 42 and 44(2) thereof). Certain provisions in ACTA may present barriers to trade in legitimate generic medicines by failing to provide protection for goods in transit through countries with differing national patent rules, thus allowing inappropriate seizures of medicines on the strength of mere allegations that trademarks are similar; by providing brand-name companies with inappropriate access to confidential information about suppliers or customers; or by introducing new global norms on third-party liability and criminal sanctions for aiding and abetting infringement that will deter distributors and customers from working with legitimate generic firms. Collectively these news norms may frustrate countries’ efforts to avail themselves of TRIPS flexibilities to ensure access to medicine, and may conflict with the recently adopted ‘Council Conclusions on the EU role in Global Health’ (e.g. paragraph 16(a) thereof). Will the Commission act on Parliament’s request of 10 March 2010 for an impact assessment of ACTA and ‘consult with Parliament in a timely manner about the results of the assessment’? Continue Reading →

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