Improving Intellectual Property Rights through Global Cooperation

In Tokyo last week, 37 countries met to discuss the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) The agreement would increase efforts against theft of intellectual property, support high enforcement standards against piracy, and also accompany existing rules that are already in effect under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.The finalized document is 24 pages long and if you click HERE, you can read it in its entirety.

Strong intellectual property enforcement is key to long-term economic growth and prosperity. Intellectual property rights can boost trade and foreign investment dramatically, but first, global piracy and counterfeiting must be stopped or significantly reduced for the economies of developed and developing nations to thrive. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk stated, “This text reflects tremendous progress in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy – a global crime wave that robs workers in the United States and around the world of good-paying jobs and exposes consumers to dangerous products.”

ACTA does not provide governments with every answer on how to tackle IP infringement, but it does help with the very important job of finding solutions to this global problem. This is a milestone in the fight to protect intellectual property rights worldwide reached by 37 other countries including the United States, the 27 EU member states, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Mexico, and Morocco. While this agreement does not include some of the biggest IP offenders, including China, this is a step in the right direction.