[Fsfe-ie] EU push for more enforcement at WTO

teresahackett at eircom.net teresahackett at eircom.net
Tue Aug 9 17:26:17 CEST 2005

Extract from IP Watch article "Push For IP Deals Continues In Lead-Up To
WTO Ministerial" You can read the full article at:


EU Enforcement Proposal Raises Concerns

Meanwhile, while it may not factor directly into the pre-ministerial
deals, the European Union caused a stir in the Geneva intellectual
property community with a proposal at the June TRIPS Council meeting
calling for a review of compliance with WTO intellectual property rights
enforcement provisions.

In its proposal (IP/C/W/448), the EU states that “noteworthy progress”
on intellectual property rights (IPR) protection has been achieved
worldwide since TRIPS was adopted in 1994. But it argues that while most
WTO members have implemented or are implementing the TRIPS agreement –
which contains enforcement provisions – the volume and value of IPR
violations “has known a dramatic increase” over the last years.
Violations, in particular counterfeiting and piracy, have reached
“industrial proportions” and now represent a “considerable share” of the
global economy, it said.

This “contradiction” led the EU to suggest that the TRIPS Council
“carefully examine” the compliance of members with the TRIPS enforcement
provisions. The EU proposal breaks out the types of involvement in
violations by source countries, transit countries and target countries.
This echoes the approach taken by the Office of the United States Trade
Representative in its annual “Special 301” list of problem countries it
deems not to be sufficiently protecting U.S. IPRs.

The EU proposal suggests the TRIPS Council complement the work of a
committee of the World Intellectual Property Organisation by identifying
where the problems are and recommending improvements. These might
include benchmarks to evaluate progress by national governments, or
suggesting best practices, and would allow better targeting of technical
assistance in intellectual property. Issues suggested to receive
“special attention” include procedures to preserve evidence, methods for
calculating damages, civil and criminal sanctions, the right to
information, customs measures and more.

The EU cited the TRIPS provision on enforcement under which governments
are expected to ensure enforcement procedures are “available under their
law so as to permit effective action” against violations. It added that
under TRIPS, the council has the job of monitoring compliance with the
agreement. The EU proposed the issue be addressed in the “forthcoming
months” and asked that it be placed on the agenda of the council’s next

In the June TRIPS Council meeting, the proposal received support from
Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland and the United
States. Opposition from countries who argued the proposal would
overburden the council and exceed its mandate included: Argentina,
Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, India, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, and

More information about the FSFE-IE mailing list