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World: Draft Counterfeiting Pact in Final Stages of Completion

(Nov. 18, 2010) On October 6, 2010, a draft text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was made public, after three years and 11 rounds of negotiations. The current negotiating parties are Australia, Canada, the European Union (including all its Member States), Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States. The ACTA initiative was undertaken by various members of the World Trade Organization beginning in 2007. (Trade: Anti-Counterfeiting, European Commission website,
(last visited Nov. 10, 2010).) Formal negotiations were launched in June 2008, based on a concept originally floated by Japan and later endorsed by the United States. (All You Want to Know About the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), European Commission website (Oct. 20, 2010),

Praised by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk as “a significant victory,” the draft ACTA “would establish a framework for combating counterfeiting and piracy of commercial goods that encourages international cooperation as well as strong enforcement practices.” (Erin Bock, Nations Unveil Draft of International Anti-Counterfeiting Pact, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (Oct. 7, 2010),
.) Its provisions cover both civil and criminal penalties, administrative remedies, injunctions, and payment of damages. Under border control provisions, it gives customs authorities the right to suspend shipments of suspect goods and to destroy counterfeit ones. Trade in the digital environment would also fall under the applicable framework of infringement protection and enforcement, based on the ACTA. (Id.; Consolidated Text: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Oct. 2, 2010), Office of the U.S. Trade Representative official website,

Participating countries agreed at the conclusion of the most recent ACTA negotiating round to review the “99-percent complete draft” of the agreement, finalize the text, and submit it to a final review before opening it for signature. China, a major source of counterfeit goods, did not take part in drafting the agreement or in discussions about it. (Bock, supra; Jonathan Lynn & Doug Palmer, UPDATE 1-Anti-Counterfeit Pact Text Shows Deal Is Near-Source, REUTERS (Oct. 6, 2010), In May 2010, upon releasing its 2010 International Piracy Watch List, the bipartisan U.S. Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus named China, along with Russia, Spain, and two parties to ACTA, Canada and Mexico, “as the worst countries for protecting copyrighted information.” (Hillary Stemple, US Lawmakers Release List of Top Copyright Violators for 2010, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (May 20, 2010),