A final text of a new international anti-counterfeiting trade agreement, dubbed ACTA, has been agreed – protecting food manufacturers against illicit copies through tough criminal penalties for counterfeiters. 

This follows an agreement at ACTA talks in Tokyo at the weekend between the EU and the US over the vexed question of brand rights versus geographical indication protection. 

Washington feared the new treaty would allow European seizures of products such as Kraft Foods’ parmesan as counterfeit. 

Brussels, meanwhile, feared the treaty would undermine the EU’s protection of traditional geographical indications – such as Italian-made ‘Parmesan’ cheese. 

The compromise involves both sides respecting each other’s intellectual property regime, focusing on illicit counterfeiters in border seizures. 

The text mandates “effective border enforcement…that does not discriminate unreasonably between intellectual property rights and avoids…barriers to legitimate trade”.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk hailed the deal’s “tremendous progress in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy”.