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U.S. and 7 Other Countries Sign Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement in Tokyo

October 1, 2011

The United States and seven other countries on Oct. 1 signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) at a ceremony today in Tokyo, joining forces in the international battle against trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.

“Protecting intellectual property is essential to American jobs in innovative and creative industries. The ACTA provides a platform for the Obama Administration to work cooperatively with other governments to advance the fight against counterfeiting and piracy,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said of the signing. “Today marks a major milestone in the process of putting this Agreement into force.”

Citing estimates that between 10 and 20 million American jobs depend on intellectual property rights, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said in a press release that “ACTA aims to strengthen enforcement of those rights around the world, providing greater protection for U.S. exporters in innovative and creative industries.”

Along with the United States, representatives of Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, and Singapore signed the Agreement. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro signed on behalf of the United States. Representatives of the European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland were in attendance to confirm “their continuing support for the Agreement as they complete their domestic procedures to enable them to sign,” the press release stated.

Interestingly, Canada, a major trading partner of the United States and a signatory of this agreement, was listed on the intellectual property infringement Priority Watch List in the 2011 Special 301 Report released by USTR in May. In that report, the United States urged Canada to enact copyright legislation to address Internet piracy, to impose deterrent-level sentences for IP rights violations, and to “provide its Customs officials with ex officio authority to effectively stop the transit of counterfeit and pirated products through its territory.”

For the USTR fact sheet on the ACTA, please click here.

For the USTR’s views on key points of the ACTA, please click here.

The eight countries signing the ACTA released a joint press statement, which points out that:

The ACTA provides for: (1) enhanced international cooperation; (2) promotion of sound enforcement practices; and (3) a legal framework for IPR enforcement in the areas of criminal enforcement, enforcement at the border, civil and administrative actions, and distribution of IPR infringing material on the Internet. With respect to the legal framework, the ACTA establishes a strengthened standard that builds on the minimum standards of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This marks a considerable improvement in international trade norms for effectively combating the global proliferation of commercial-scale counterfeiting and piracy in the 21st Century.

To read the joint press statement on the ACTA, please click here.


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