[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was rejected by the European Parliament on 4 July 2012, by 478 votes to 39, with 165 abstentions. Parliament could not amend the ACTA, but only approve or reject it. Its rejection means that neither the EU nor its individual member states can join the agreement.

Under EU Treaty articles 207 and 218, most international agreements need Parliament’s consent to enter into force. Equally, all EU countries need to ratify them.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), is a multinational treaty for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement.The stated aim of ACTA is to combat Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) infringements, namely counterfeiting and piracy, by enhancing international cooperation and enforcement.

ACTA was signed on 1 October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States. They were joined on 26 January 2012 in Tokyo by representatives of 22 EU member states (Cyprus, Estonia, Slovakia, Germany and the Netherlands were “expected to do so on the completion of their respective domestic procedures”) and representatives of the EU as such. However, the signatures need to be followed by ratification for ACTA to enter into force.

Ratification by six parties to the negotiations is sufficient for the agreement to come into force. The EU is considered to be a single negotiating party.