ICC met with High Commissioner for Canada and others to press for IP protection in Canada EU FTA, London, 12 January 2012.

Canada - EU FTA 2012

Representatives of the International Chamber of Commerce's Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative, met with key officials from the Canadian government and European Commission to discuss counterfeiting issues in Canada and the content of the IP Chapter of the EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement during a dinner debate organized in collaboration with the City of London and Gowlings.

Senior business representatives highlighted concerns over the enforcement of IP rights in Canada – from pharmaceuticals to tobacco products to digital piracy. More specifically, there has been concern about copyright legislation in Canada, the lack of sufficient authority by customs officials to make ex-officio seizures at the border, and limited resources for strengthening enforcement efforts.

“We have seen EU FTAs with Korea and others and are hopeful that the agreement with Canada will contain similarly strong provisions covering both IP protection standards and enforcement”, said Mr. David Benjamin, Senior Vice-President for Anti-Piracy at Universal Music and co-chair of the BASCAP Steering Committee. He also added “We have to be ambitious with Canada since Canada is a signatory party to the ACTA Agreement. Therefore, the agreement should establish high standards for IP protection and increased enforcement”.

Key recommendations

ICC BASCAP shared with officials from the Canadian government and European Commission a few recommendations for inclusion in the agreement with respect to substantive standards concerning IP Protection and regarding IP enforcement.

As for the substantive standards of IP protection, BASCAP recommended the following:

  1. Provisions for copyright protection ensuring full compliance with the international standards set out in the WIPO Internet Treaties (WIPO Copyright Treaty [WCT] and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty [WPPT]),
  2. Establishment of strong legal incentives for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to cooperate with copyright owners in combating online piracy,
  3. Assurance that any new exceptions or limitations to copyright protection conform to international norms,
  4. Introduction of provisions on trademark protection in line with the principles of international treaties, such as the Madrid Protocol and the Singapore Treaty and,
  5. Inclusion of provisions to improve Canada’s administrative process for reviewing the regulatory approval of pharmaceutical products, as well as limitations in Canada’s trademark regime.

With respect to IP Enforcement, ICC BASCAP recommended:

  1. Providing for deterrent-level sentences to be imposed for IPR violations,
  2. Introducing border enforcement provisions to empower customs officials to make ex officio seizures of counterfeit and pirate product at the border without a court order,
  3. Establishing strong stipulations for improving the effectiveness of criminal judicial procedures as well as for provisional or temporary measures to prevent the further infringement of IPR and,
  4. Providing for strong co-operation mechanisms and technical assistance measures to substantially increase enforcement efforts aimed at combating counterfeit and piracy both at the border and within Canada.

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