The Canadian government provided its first major briefing on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement this morning. There were attendees from all sides of the issue as well as an (unlisted) representative from the U.S. Embassy. The meeting started with a bang as Don Stephenson, an Assistant Deputy Minister at DFAIT, noted the two sources of ACTA. One was obviously counterfeiting. The other was the stalemate at the World Intellectual Property Organization. With the emergence of the Development Agenda, WIPO now finds itself torn between different views of intellectual property. Canadian officials were clear that frustration with WIPO in developing further international IP standards that has led to an attempt to establish a "plurilateral" treaty rather than the multilateral efforts at WIPO.
I believe that this is the first clear acknowledgement that ACTA is an effort to avoid the international community by crafting a side deal that excludes major countries from around the world. This proved to be a major point of discussion as several participants noted that excluding the very countries that are most strongly linked to counterfeiting issues as either a source (China, Russia) or victim (African countries on medicines) seemed likely to doom ACTA to failure.