By Trevor Little
July 13 2012
A week after the European Parliament effectively struck down the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Mexico has surprisingly signed up to the treaty. The move – which has been applauded by the International Trademark Association (INTA) – comes despite the Mexican Senate’s previous vote against the treaty. The next question is whether the senate will follow through with ratification.
The signing, by the Mexican ambassador in Japan, took place before the Japanese government, with the country stating that ACTA will “provide Mexican people with a sound international protection of their intellectual property rights, attract new investments, ensure the existing work flows, increase the creation of formal jobs and foster the creativity, innovation and competitiveness of our enterprises… [at] a time when Mexico faces a serious problem of trademark counterfeiting and piracy in different industrial sectors.”
In its official statement, the Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial stresses that “the Mexican State shall abide by the secondary legislation that the Mexican Congress passes on intellectual property matters, where the protection and safeguard of fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech, privacy, legality, due process, access to information and culture, shall always be preserved.” Going further to allay fears over the implications of ACTA, it adds: “The application of ACTA will not generate an environment of permanent monitoring and surveillance of the daily activities carried out over the internet, and will not be an excuse for checking or seizing computer equipment or personal audio and video players.”
Reacting to the announcement, Alan Drewsen, executive director of INTA, stated: “We commend Mexico for taking the necessary steps to join ACTA, but the work doesn’t stop there. We look forward to Mexico quickly ratifying the agreement in order to provide the necessary tools that support local business growth.”
There has already been speculation around the background to the signing, specifically that it was a US condition for Mexico joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks (which are themselves at the centre of hot debate). Whatever the motivation, as Drewsen notes, ACTA still requires Senate ratification – and given previous hostility to the agreement, that is far from a certainty.
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