EU Asks Court to Clarify Legality of Anti-Counterfeiting Accord

The European Union said it will refer the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to the European Court of Justice to clarify the accord’s legality.

“We are planning to ask Europe’s highest court to assess whether ACTA is incompatible in any way with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms,” European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told reporters today in Brussels. The accord is intended to bolster the global fight against counterfeiting and piracy, including illegal file sharing on the internet.

ACTA has been the subject of protests across the EU since the text was signed in Tokyo on Jan. 26 because of concerns that it may harm freedom of expression and information sharing online. In addition to the EU, signatory countries include the U.S., Japan and South Korea. The accord needs to be ratified by all 27 EU governments before it can come into effect.

“It’s very important that the European Court of Justice gives us guidance” on ACTA, De Gucht said.

“Intellectual property is Europe’s main raw material,” he said. “The problem is that we currently struggle to protect it outside the European Union.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Jim Brunsden in Brussels at jbrunsden@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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