Worried that the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement (ACTA) is being negotiated by developed countries that could propose tougher patent and copyright protections that it thinks is necessary, especially with pharmaceuticals and information technology.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) being negotiated in secret by the EU, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and the US is starting to make uninvolved countries like India nervous that any agreements made will create a set of intellectual property protections much higher than it think’s necessary.
It’s particularly concerned that the ACTA could impact the import and export of generic drugs for which developing countries rely on as an affordable healthcare alternative to the high-priced pharmaceuticals.
The ACTA could permit the seizure of such goods if they stop in a port of a country that it is a signatory of the agreement. So if an Indian drug-maker ships meds to Guatemala and it stops at a US port along the way it could be confiscated.
“The stringent norms being proposed will extend to import, export, in-transit and other situations when goods are under customs supervision,” said TC James, a consultant with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce.
An unnamed Indian govt official say they may try to hold talks with “like-minded” countries like Brazil, China, and Egypt to jointly oppose the ACTA proposal, certainly increasing the pressure on the ACTA negotiating countries to open the process.
There are worries that spare parts could also be confiscated under the ACTA if determined to have violated an unknown patent or design protection.
“We are looking at the issue and preparing a negotiating brief,” said Amarendra Khatua, joint secretary at the commerce & industry ministry.”
At least one country is worried about what the ACTA could mean for copyright regulations.