06 Dec 2010

New Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement finalised - now to see if Australia ratifies it

by Mary Still, John Fairbairn

The text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a new international intellectual property agreement on enforcement obligations aimed at countering copyright and trade mark piracy, has been settled.

Negotiated by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States, the Agreement covers:

  • civil and criminal measures
  • customs measures
  • internet enforcement measures
  • international co-operation mechanisms; and
  • determining best practices for effective enforcement.

Many of the provisions in the treaty are already reflected in Australian intellectual property laws, so it's unlikely that ratification by Australia would necessarily mean much change in its laws. The biggest advantage for Australian IP owners probably lies in the increased international co-operation offered by the treaty.

What are the next steps?

A technical meeting to examine the treaty's drafting was held in Sydney from 30 November to 3 December.

The Government is still taking submissions on the text of the treaty, and will make a final decision on ratification after it is examined by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.