|Singapore: Ministry of Law Sets Sights on ACTA|
Samuel Seow Law Corporation
(This article is from International Law Office, and we put it here only for our internal members to study and research. If it violates the author’s copyright, please send e-mail to email@example.com, and we will delete it immediately.)
Negotiations on the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) have resulted in the release of a finalised draft, which reflects the changes made during the Tokyo round in September 2010.
ACTA aims to establish international standards for IP rights enforcement. The idea was originally developed by the United States and Japan, with other states and jurisdictions - including Canada, the European Union, Australia and Singapore - joining the negotiations at different stages.
The proposed agreement reflects a need for a new international framework to counteract the proliferation not only of counterfeit and pirated goods, but also of services that distribute infringing material. In particular, it is intended to complement the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in respect of IP rights enforcement, and to address issues related to infringement in the digital environment.
Although the draft agreement may be subject to further review, Singapore has already expressed its keen interest in acceding to ACTA. The strongest indication so far has come from the Ministry of Law, which has announced that it is "positive about becoming a founding signatory of ACTA" on the basis of the existing draft agreement. The ministry has also stated that Singapore sees the robust protection of IP rights as an important tool for strengthening the economy.
One of the most controversial aspects of the earlier drafts - from the perspective of Singapore and certain other countries - was the contemplated introduction of a 'three strikes' approach. This would have involved a graduated response system against illegal downloading whereby internet service providers would have been required to terminate a subscriber's internet access after three warnings. In 2009 the Intellectual Property Office indicated that Singapore had no plans to introduce such a system, as existing laws already provided for appropriate legal action against infringers. If Singapore chooses to sign the agreement, it is not expected that ACTA implementation will require significant changes to the law.
The opinions expressed do not constitute investment advice and specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
Published on our website on Dec.1, 2010