Dr Xavier Seuba (CEIPI, University of Strasbourg) spoke on the topic of "Negotiating Intellectual Property Chapters in New European Trade Agreements" at a seminar on 28 February 2019.
Preferential trade agreements have become a crucial source of international intellectual property law. As a proof of this, more than 160 preferential trade agreements presently regulate intellectual property in a relevant manner, and the number continues to increase. By January 2019 the European Union (EU) was negotiating new trade agreements with large trade partners such as India, Mexico, Indonesia and Mercosur. Likewise, a new trade agreement was concluded in 2018 between the EU and Japan, and the revision of older treaties is underway. In all cases intellectual property is among the central themes of the negotiations.
The sophistication of intellectual property chapters of new trade agreements also increases, since they include more and more detailed provisions. Indeed, many of these chapters resemble abridged versions of national intellectual property codes. While well-known features of intellectual property regulation in trade agreements persist -in particular the promotion of higher standards and the transplantation of EU intellectual property provisions- there are also important novelties. The fact that EU trade partners now include states with an important bargaining power may alter the usual content of intellectual property chapters. At the same time, the promises made by the EU to increase transparency and balance will be the object of scrutiny when the final trade agreements go through parliamentary approval. Reminiscences of a new ACTA-like failure should temper some of the most ambitious European proposals, notably in areas relating the protection of public health and intellectual property enforcement.
For more information see the CIPIL website at http://www.cipil.law.cam.ac.uk