In the last edition of SnIPpets, we reported on protests raised against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement ("ACTA"). However, the final blow for the agreement in the EU was probably delivered on 4 July 2012 when the European Parliament voted (resoundingly) to reject it.
Twenty-two EU member states, including the UK, had signed the ACTA treaty and it also had the support of countries such as the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. However, the agreement had not formally been ratified.
Alan Drewsen, executive director of the International Trademark Association said he expected ACTA to move ahead without the EU. EU Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, said that he recognised the choice the European Parliament had made and welcomed the debate which ACTA had created among Europe's citizens. The European Commission will continue to seek the legal opinion of the European Court of Justice on whether this agreement harms any of the fundamental rights of European citizens, including freedom of speech, and will then consult with the EU's international partners on how to move the issue forward. In the meantime, ACTA may still be ratified by other nations with the benefit of raising standards of IP enforcement outside of the EU.