Google Trends for "Acta" on 2012-01-30

As should be well known to everyone working on patents, copyright, trade marks and the like, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. In an earlier post on this blog I had reported in October last year on preparations for signing and ratification of ACTA in the EU, predicting that an epic battle on the ratification of ACTA is looming. Meanwhile, the Agreement has been signed on behalf of 31 Member States and on behalf of the EU as well.

It is absolutely safe to state that the public debate on ACTA has not calmed down. To the contrary, tensions are soaring as demonstrated by the Google Trends graph shown above: Just in these weeks and days the public interest in ACTA related matters as perceived by Google search engine has increased dramatically; look at the leading slope near the right-hand border of the plot. Fueled by real or imaginative parallels to the SOPA and PIPA Bills recently stalled in the U.S., broader circles of those parts of the general public engaged in Internet politics had a closer look into the ACTA matter, and many were not amused. Twitter timelines are buzzing with statements of discontent concerning ACTA; in Germany, protest demonstrations are scheduled to happen on February 11, 2012. In Poland, protest demonstrations with tens of thousands of participants have already been reported during past days (see also another video here).On January 26, Mr Kader Arif, the rapporteu for ACTA in the respective Committee of the European Parliament, stepped down, dismissing the entire political process of the creation of ACTA as follows:

“I condemn the whole process which led to the signature of this agreement: no consultation of the civil society, lack of transparency since the beginning of negotiations, repeated delays of the signature of the text without any explanation given, reject of Parliament’s recommendations as given in several resolutions of our assembly.”

As ACTA is considered to be a Mixed Agreement interfering with EU competences as well as with national ones it needs ratification not only by the EU Parliament on behalf of the European Union but also of each one of the 27 national Parliaments on behalf of each one of the EU Member States. Hence, starting later this year, we shall be entertained by watching a sort of a round dance of a political ratification theatre on a total of 28 stages including the European Parliament. And in many, if not in all EU Member States, a strong opposition will take the chance to push for a general debate on IP politics.

In some of the EU Member States the ACTA dispute may assist the respective national branch of the Pirate Party to enter the Parliament. Current polls on federal level say that the German branch of the Pirate Party may expect around 5% share of the votes for the lower chamber of the German Parliament (“Bundestag”). A broad grassroots movement fueld by protest against ACTA could well help them pass the 5% quorum hurdle. In view of the perceivable decay of the Liberal Democratic Party (“Freie Demokratische Partei”, FDP) which hangs around 3%, the German Piratenpartei might not only see chances to gain seats in the 2013 general elections but also to become junior coalition partner in a future German Government.

About The Author

Axel H. Horns

German & European Patent, Trade Mark & Design Attorney

2 Responses to Debate On ACTA Gaining Momentum

  1. [...] As reported earlier, the public debate on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Mexican States, the Kingdom of Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Singapore, the Swiss Confederation and the United States of America (ACTA) is currently gaining momentum. One of the many problems with ACTA is that it appears not to be clear as to whether or not the Treaty will actually change the law of at least some of its Member states. [...]