Global Insider: Opposition to ACTA the Latest Battle in Europe’s IP War

The European Commission published a document earlier this month to defend the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the face of large public demonstrations against the proposed agreement. In an email interview, Axel Metzger, a professor of intellectual property law at the University of Hanover, discussed ACTA in the context of European Union intellectual property norms.

WPR: What is the background of ACTA, and what gaps in the global intellectual property regime is it meant to address?

Axel Metzger: The goal of ACTA is to achieve a higher level of enforcement of intellectual property rights. The provisions, for the most part, do not define what represents an infringement. Rather the agreement is focused on sanctions, especially criminal sanctions, border measures, injunctions and damages. ACTA is meant to supplement the enforcement rules of the TRIPS agreement of 1994, which is part of the World Trade Organization (WTO) body of international treaties. The ACTA negotiating parties nevertheless preferred to discuss the new agreement outside the framework of the WTO to avoid an open discussion with all WTO member states. Within the WTO, developing countries are in a majority position. Their main interest is access to technology -- for instance, pharmaceuticals -- and cultural content, in contrast to the European and American preference for greater enforcement of existing rules. This discrepancy in political goals has blocked WTO negotiations in the Doha process for years. The strategy behind ACTA is to establish a new “gold standard” for intellectual property (IP) enforcement that may then be implemented in bilateral free trade agreements with individual developing countries.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review