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International Law Making in the Light of Acta Negotiations

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INTERNATIONAL LAW MAKING IN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN THE LIGHT OF ACTA

PART I

International Legislation on Intellectual Property, enforcement of Intellectual Property

Rights, Actors involved in ACTA and their goals

The Origin of the Intellectual Property Rights

The Intellectual Property Rights (IP Rights) started getting recognition as a valuable property in some parts of the world, especially Europe, almost a millennium ago. Earliest evidence of the existence of intellectual property laws can be found in the European monarchies of mediaeval ages where such rights were bestowed upon individuals by the sovereigns. The first statutory law relating to the intellectual property rights, it is generally believed, was the Venetian Statute on Industrial Brevets, which was promulgated in the Republic of Venice on March 19, 1474 . This law recognized the intellectual property rights and provided protection to their holders1. The rest of the European states continued their respective systems of granting intellectual property rights as a privilege. It was from the early 18th century onwards that the industrialized European countries started promulgating laws for protecting intellectual property rights one after another . Towards the end of the 19th century the European countries, their colonies and the Americas, entered into a more sophisticated age of industrialization. This age was marked by various kinds of inventions across the Atlantic including the ones which drastically improved means of transportation and communication. This in turn resulted in more frequent exchange of ideas between different states and an increase in international trade. Around the last quarter of the 19th century, most of the industrialized countries had promulgated their own laws for protecting IP Rights in their territories. This „principle of territoriality. was the most obvious common factor in all these IP laws. For these countries the technological advancement and the principle of territoriality brought instances of intellectual property rights violations beyond their borders. To protect their IP Rights in different countries the right holders were compelled to take measures under the laws of each country where they wanted to get protection. For dealing with this problem various European countries entered into bilateral treaties. However, since the protection was still limited to the two participating countries in each bilateral arrangement, the next natural progression was the idea of an international treaty which finally surfaced near the last quarter of the 19th century.

The Origin of International Legislation on the Intellectual Property Rights

From Weltausstellung 1873 Wien to WIPO 1967

In the late 18th century and early 19th century the industrialized countries started to hold international exhibitions of industrial machinery, inventions and arts. For these exhibitions special laws were some times enacted by the host states for protecting intellectual property rights of owners of the exhibits (i.e. especially new industrial machineries). On May 1, 1873 Austria hosted a world industrial exposition in Vienna "Weltausstellung 1873 Wien" (Vienna Exhibition). Some of the delegates to this exposition showed reluctance to join it due to inadequacy of IP Rights protection under the Austrian Patent Law of 1852. To address this concern the Austrian Government enacted a special law for provisional protection of articles at the Vienna Exposition. For various reasons, including inadequacy of IP Rights protection pointed out by the participants at the start of the exhibition the Vienna Exposition was considered a failure 3. However, a positive outcome of Vienna Exposition was that during its continuance, in August 1873, the Austrian government convened the Congress of Vienna for Patent Reform for addressing the issue of IP Rights violations internationally. It was during this Congress that the participants agreed on developing an internationally applicable patent protection system.

The Congress of Vienna paved the way for the International Congress on Industrial Property in 1878 in Paris. In this congress, the participants discussed the possible common standards for protecting industrial patents. In the years that followed proposed drafts of a possible treaty were exchanged and finally in the Paris Diplomatic Conference in 1883, the first international treaty on IP Rights „the Paris Convention. was signed on March 20, 1883 by eleven states. Three years later, the Berne Convention for copyright protection of literary and artistic works was signed on September 9, 1886. Under the two treaties two independent bureaus were created which were later merged in 1893 to create „the Unified International Bureau for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (BIRPI ). In 1960 BIRPI was relocated to Geneva and within a decade, with the ratification of Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization on July 14, 1967, it became what is today known as WIPO. Today 184 countries are its members and it administers 24 international treaties.

Further Development

From WIPO to TRIPs 1996

After the Second World War, major economies of the world executed General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) for regulation of global trade and commerce. In the 1970.s industrialized countries started showing concerns on the adverse effects of counterfeiting on their economies and also entered in bilateral treaties to curb it. Later, these countries succeeded in placing the issue of IP Rights enforcement vis-à-vis international trade on the agenda of 8th Round of GATT negotiations . As a result of these negotiations the World Trade Organization (WTO) was created for regulating international trade. Along with WTO.s main agreement the participating countries also signed the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) . It came into force on January 1, 1995. On January 1, 1996, WTO and WIPO signed an agreement to establish a mutually supportive relationship. Thus, by 1996 the two largest bodies regulating international trade (WTO) and IP Rights (WIPO) started working in close cooperation, which further strengthened the universality of the IP Rights.

Enforcement of Intellectual Property rights and ACTA

TRIPs was the first international treaty which addressed the issue of enforcement of IP Rights. It recognizes the rights provided in earlier international treaties

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