EU and 22 Member States Sign Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

 
On 27 January 2012, European Union and 22 of its member states signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Tokyo, Japan.
 
ACTA was first developed by the United States and Japan in 2006 to establish an IP enforcement framework outside existing forums such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, or the United Nations. With more vigorous measures on crash down of counterfeit and infringing goods, the agreenebt upon implementation will affect goods in transit through the customs of the relevant countries as well as place more restrictions on the travelers to and from those countries. For example, Article 16 under border measures section of ACTA gives authority to the customs of the signatory countries upon request of the rightholder or on their own initiative to suspend release of the suspected goods, and by Article 20 on remedies, competent authorities have the authority to impose administrative penalties following the determination that the goods are infringing.  
 
Current ACTA signatories include the EU, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, along with Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States which signed the agreement last October.
 
The formal accession of the European member states to ACTA is subject to ratification at the European Parliament by vote to be conducted in June 2012. Meanwhile, the agreement remains open to signature until May 2013.