EU, US put aside mutual distrust for deal

EU, US put aside mutual distrust for deal

A final text of a new international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been agreed, protecting drinks manufacturers against illicit copies through tough criminal penalties for counterfeiters.

The agreement this week follows talks in Tokyo between the European Union (EU) and United States over the vexed question of brand rights versus geographical indication protection.

Washington feared the new treaty would allow EU officials to seize products such as American sherry and burgundy as counterfeit. Brussels feared the treaty would undermine the EU’s protection of traditional geographical indications, such as Champagne.

Both sides have agreed to respect each other’s intellectual property regime. The text mandates “effective border enforcement…that does not discriminate unreasonably between intellectual property rights and avoids…barriers to legitimate trade.”

US trade representative Ron Kirk hailed the deal’s “tremendous progress in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy”.