Silently in the Night…Canada Gets its ACTA Together

Did you know that this past week Canada become a signatory to the international treaty the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (orACTA”, if you want to flex your legal prowess)?  Chances are you don’t and you’re not alone, but CanadaFashionLaw does and is eager to share!  Sharing is caring, after all!

What is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement?

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is an international treaty that was cooked up by Japan and the US in 2006 in a joint effort to combat counterfeit products on a global scale.  In 2007, Canada joined the negotiations but did not become a signatory until very recently.  

ACTA attempts to create international standards to facilitate a cohesive global attack on counterfeiting between countries. 

Why Do We Need a Global Agreement for Counterfeiting?

Perturbed that you may not be able to get your designer purse for a fraction of the cost?  Too bad, so sad!  Counterfeiting is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.  CanadaFashionLaw previously tackled the great ramifications of counterfeiting to Canada (click here to hone up on this issue). 

Canada’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade department endorsed the necessity of bolstering Canadian intellectual property laws:

The emphasis on innovation as a measure of global competitiveness as well as the growth in participation of the Canadian economy in global trade have made the international dimension of intellectual property policy increasingly important.”
Why All the Secrecy?

Some of the countries that participated in the negotiations (cue fake cough “US) classified the negotiations as secret.  Thus, although the Canadian government has been involved in the negotiations for a number of years, the Canadian public was not allowed access to any of the information.  There was essentially no information available on Canada’s position on ACTA.  At one point, a well-reputed Canadian intellectual property law professor submitted an access to information request to the Canadian government.  Rumour has it that in response to the request, the Canadian government only confirmed the name of the act.  Of course, this type of secrecy does not sit well with many stakeholders.    

What Does ACTA Entail?

ACTA can be broken down to a 3 prong plan of attack:

  1. Improving international cooperation between countries;
  2. Establishing best practices for enforcement;
  3. Architecting a more effective legal framework for enforcement.

An interesting aspect of ACTA, which will directly benefit Canada, is the focus on border controls.  Going back to CanadaFashionLaw’s previous article dealing with the issue of counterfeiting, Canada’s ability to enable borders patrol to actively participate in the war against counterfeiting is critical.  It is critical in controlling the import of counterfeit products into Canada and it is also critical in ensuring that Canada is a player in the international trade market.

Who RSVP’d to the Party?

So far, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Korea, Singapore and the US have endorsed ACTA, along with Canada. 

So What Next?

Probably, we wait.  Ratification of legislation is one thing, implementation is another.