The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a coalition representing the copyright-based industries, enthusiastically supported today’s announcement by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, along with the Congressional Caucus on Intellectual Property and Piracy Prevention (Co-Chairs Rep. Mary Bono, Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Tom Feeney, Rep. Robert Wexler), that the U.S. and some of its key trading partners will commence negotiation of an “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (ACTA).


Information setting out the goals and parameters of such negotiation was released simultaneously today by the United States and this group of trading partners. “The IIPA and its members strongly support the leadership of the U.S. government, along with Japan, in commencing work on an agreement among like-minded countries seeking to improve potential signatory countries’ practical enforcement of their laws to deal with IPR infringements and crimes.


Effective enforcement is a critical element of forging an effective IPR regime and piracy remains a key problem globally, causing significant revenue and job losses to the U.S. economy. The copyright owners IIPA represent particularly applaud the potential Agreement’s focus on Internet piracy, practical mechanisms for effective enforcement, and training and capacity building,” remarked Eric H. Smith of the IIPA. “This initiative shows the growing recognition of the importance of strong standards embodied in the enforcement text of the TRIPS Agreement and, more recently, the U.S. free trade agreements. Moving enforcement standards from statutory law into practical and specific mechanisms to strengthen enforcement is a key next step in the process of improving IPR protection on a global basis. We hope and expect that an eventual agreement will contain strong, practical provisions that can then be adopted by other countries.”


As highlighted in the information released today, an eventual agreement would include provisions in three broad areas: increasing international cooperation, strengthening the framework of practices that contribute to effective enforcement of IPRs, and strengthening the statutory enforcement legal infrastructure in each country. The first phase would be the negotiation of an Agreement. A second phase would involve persuading other countries to join the Agreement as part of an emerging global consensus in favor of strong and technologically relevant enforcement practices.