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Intellectual Property in ACTA and the TPP: Lessons Not Learned

Kimberlee G. Weatherall, University of Queensland, Australia


In this paper I am interested in what ACTA as it emerged from the negotiating process has to teach us about the negotiation of international agreements in IP, and in whether we can see any evidence that those lessons have been learned or are being applied to the TPP negotiations. As I will show below, the ACTA text that emerged from several years’ controversial negotiations was a quite different beast from the original aspirations of the negotiating parties. ACTA as it was finalised retreated significantly from earlier proposals: it contains more safeguards, and less detailed and stringent provisions, than was feared or expected by many commentators. This suggests that even in negotiations among ‘IP-enthusiast’ countries there are limits to the consensus on the appropriate scope of IP-protective measures. ACTA, therefore, as the closest thing we have to a ‘high protection consensus’, ought to be seen as a kind of ceiling to what is possible or desirable for the present. As I will further show, however, this is far from the approach being adopted by the US in the TPP negotiations. The US’ apparent determination to treat its existing FTAs, and ACTA, as a floor, rather than a ceiling, may well undermine the whole purpose of the TPP negotiations.

Suggested Citation

Kimberlee G. Weatherall. 2011. "Intellectual Property in ACTA and the TPP: Lessons Not Learned" The SelectedWorks of Kimberlee G Weatherall
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kimweatherall/24