European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, announced on Wednesday that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The European Commission has already passed ACTA and the European Council adopted ACTA unanimously in December. The trade agreement has also been passed to the European Parliament for a debate and vote to be held later. However, the trade commissioner is looking to the ECJ to independently clarify the legality of this agreement.
The court will assess whether ACTA is incompatible with the EU's fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information or data protection and the right to property in case of intellectual property.
The ratification process for ACTA has sparked debate in EU nations about the freedom of the Internet, and the importance of protecting Europe's Intellectual Property for member states' economies.
"I share people's concern for these fundamental freedoms. I welcome that people have voiced their concerns so actively ? especially over the freedom of the internet. And I also understand that there is uncertainty on what ACTA will really mean for these key issues at the end of the day.
So I believe that putting ACTA before the European Court of Justice is a needed step. This debate must be based upon facts and not upon the misinformation or rumour that has dominated social media sites and blogs in recent weeks."
European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht.
The commissioner said that ACTA will not change anything in the European Union, as the standards of enforcement of intellectual property rights mandated by ACTA are already met by laws in the EU. Rather, the aim for European nations is to see it adopted by other countries so that European companies can defend themselves against blatant rip-offs of their products and works.
Written by: James Delahunty @ 22 Feb 2012 9:58