Intellectual Property Watch
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiated last year will be open for signature for two years, until the first of May 2013. But while this looks like a long time, it may be needed by the 37 negotiating governments (including the United States, Japan, South Korea and the 27 European Union members) to iron out problems on their way to implementing what some rights owners welcomed as a possible new “gold standard” for the enforcement of intellectual property rights.
The European Union has no monopoly on a potentially protracted fight over ACTA. In the United States, experts are divided over the question if the US government can enact ACTA as a sole executive agreement without involving Congress. A paper by Oona A. Hathaway and Bernice Latrobe Smith, professors at Yale Law School, and Amy Kapczynski, a professor at University of California Berkeley Law School, warns against the potential reduction of democratic control over international lawmaking – and at the same time an expansion of the use of sole executive power. While some of ACTA’s provision would clearly fall within that scope, the authors write, others go beyond the traditional bounds of a sole executive agreement.