May 27, 2013 by Silvana Bolocan
Business community and politicians alike, from both sides of the Atlantic claim that the future TTIP will bring measurable important benefits for both partners. Such benefits may range from political gains, as increased relevance in world politics, to economic positive consequences in terms of boost to growth and job creation.
However, as the contributions to the grand political visions recede, the practicalities of the TTIP come into focus. One area of possible divergence between the two blocks is the IPR protection. The Final Report of the High Level Working Group (http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2013/february/tradoc_150519.pdf) and the EU negotiating mandate (as obtained by insidetrade.com) mentions “issues” related to IPR, more exactly, “areas most relevant for fostering the exchange of goods and services with IP content”. There is nothing as comprehensive as ACTA in view and no harmonisation of rules in enforcement are intended. The vagueness of the wording, however, brings to mind similarities with the ACTA text – which ultimately failed to be voted in because of perceived lack of transparency and vagueness of the text. According to Bernd Hugenholtz, director of the Institute for Information Law at the University of Brussels, “including an IP chapter could be asking for trouble for the TTIP in general”.
Interest for this subject is very high from the civil society and organisations, which have already taken a strong stance during the ACTA negotiations but also important for EU producers (such as the protection of geographic indications).