Cyprus, along with four (4) other EU Member States (Germany, Slovakia, Estonia, and Netherlands), has refused to sign the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, known as ACTA. ACTA is a multinational treaty which aims at the establishment of standards for intellectual property and rights’ enforcement. It targets at markets of counterfeit goods, generic medicines and most importantly, it pursues to prevent copyright infringement, over the internet. On January 26th, 22 Member States signed the treaty in Tokyo. The remaining members (Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Netherlands and Slovakia) were expected to sign it on the completion of their respective domestic procedures. Amid sparked protests throughout Europe, many countries expressed concerns about the impact that this agreement can have on fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens, such as the freedom of expression and communication privacy.
As an extension of the aforementioned protests against ACTA, several organisations in Cyprus issued statements according to which on the one hand it is important to sign and ratify a binding agreement that secures intellectual property but on the other hand such an agreement shouldn’t contradict fundamental rights of EU citizens. In light of these developments, the European Commission has decided to submit the treaty to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), in order to examine whether ACTA is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols which protect fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the freedom of expression and information, the data protection and the right to property in case of intellectual property. On this basis, Cyprus has resolved to resist the ratification of ACTA, pending the ruling from the ECJ.