Criminal IP Sanctions To Be Dropped From Canada-EU FTA, Documents Show

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By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch

Criminal sanctions for intellectual property rights infringement are to be dropped from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), according to a set of documents leaked by Montreal daily La Presse.

According to the leaked documents that consist of reports from the European Commission to the European Council of Ministers about the state of the play of the CETA negotiations, it was the failure the much-debated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that resulted in this particular change in the EU position.

Still standing IPR issues are related to the pharmaceutical sector and to geographic indications, a topic pushed by the EU on request by many member states who want to see names like champagne, parmesan or Münchner beer better protected. With regard to the pharmaceutical sector, three issues are on the EU agenda. These include: patent term restoration (to make up for time lost for the rights holder due to the patent application process, extension of the data exclusivity period, and the right to appeal for EU parties under Canada’s marketing authorisation regime.

While there is enough detail on substantive issues and red lines by the European Community in the documents publicly posted by La Presse, the documents also are very interesting in the way they illustrate the EU strategy and red lines in the negotiations. The European Commission for example admits that in the broad-scoped agreement (that includes also financial markets and goods), it is the EU who put more requests on the table. The document also delivers arguments to be made against the not-so-wrong perception that CETA is imbalanced. For the Canadian delegation that came back from a meeting Friday last week with many open issues to be dealt with, this might also be an interesting read.

Documents can be obtained via this link.

It remains to be seen if the Canadian negotiating strategy also will be made public, maybe by a European newspaper.

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist has a broader analysis on the different points in the leaked EU CETA strategy, here.

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