Secret IPR measures in EU – South Korea trade agreement

By EDRi · September 23, 2009

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Deutsch: [Geheime IPR-Maßnahmen im Handelsabkommen zwischen der EU und Südkorea |]

The European Union and South Korea plan to initiate a Free Trade Agreement
in October 2009. The trade agreement includes civil, border and criminal
measures for the enforcement of copyright, trademark rights, patents and
other exclusive rights. The text of the agreement is secret.

In the Netherlands, EDRi-member last week asked the
parliamentary Commission on Subsidiarity to investigate the EU – South Korea
trade agreement. In 2006, this commission gained fame with its negative
advice on the EU Criminal measures intellectual property directive proposal

Subsequently, both chambers of the Dutch Parliament unanimously agreed with
the Commission’s advice and sent a letter to then EU Commissioner Frattini,
with translated copies to the other national parliaments of the EU. IPRED 2
is now permanently stuck in the EU Council.

FFII analyst Ante Wessels comments: “Decisions on substantive and formal
criminal law have always been deemed especially sensitive for the ability of
a constitutional state to democratically shape itself. Hence the opposition
against EU criminal law. It is rather shocking that criminal measures are
now secretly put in trade agreements. And the secretiveness of the EU –
South Korea trade agreement makes it impossible to assess its effects on
access to the Internet, software and medicine, too.”

The EU member states have the righ to veto on criminal measures. The
articles related to trade services fall within the shared competence of the
Community and its member states. The agreement has to be concluded jointly
by the Community and the member states.

Ante Wessels adds: “The governments keep the national parliaments
uninformed. To gain influence, parliaments have to first force transparency.
They can do so by making parliamentary scrutiny reservations. Then the
government can’t go ahead before the parliament is informed and makes a

South Korea and the European Union (EU) will initial their bilateral free
trade agreement (FTA) in October (10.09.2009)

EU Council documents

Vrijschrift letter (only in Dutch, 16.09.2009)

FFII information page on EU – South Korea trade agreement with more
information on vetoes

TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), Resolution on the enforcement of
copyright, trademarks, patents and other intellectual property rights

NGO Letter to USTR on transparency (22.07.2009)

Secret criminal measures in EU – South Korea trade agreement (21.09.2009)

(Thanks to Ante Wessels – FFII – Förderverein für eine Freie Informationelle