Lawyers at the European Parliament have given the thumbs up to the plan for an ACTA vote, possibly this side of the summer holidays. The rapporteur, David Martin, confirmed the position, at a recent  event in London.

  Mr  Martin was speaking at a seminar held at  the European Parliament’s London ‘outpost’ (the  existence of which was news to me until last week).

 He was  responding to a question on the referral of ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement) to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The particular issue was whether or not   the European Parliament may vote on ACTA, whilst the ECJ is deliberating . Mr Martin said that the European Parliament’s legal services were of the opinion that the  vote on ACTA can take place before the ECJ delivers its opinion.

 David  Martin confirmed that there had been a proposal for the European Parliament to make the referral to the ECJ, but it was rejected:

As rapporteur, I proposed to the INTA** committee that we should send ACTA to the Court of Justice, and do an interim report” he said. However,  he confirmed that the view taken in the Parliament was that it would be a delaying tactic, and the INTA committee had rejected it.

This decision appears to put the Parliament in a stronger position.  According to David Martin, if the Parliament itself had made the ECJ  referral, it would have to wait for the answer before it could vote. But the European Commission made the referral ( which appears to have been sent on 11 May). Therefore, in his opinion, and also in the opinion of the official Legal Services, the Parliament does not need to wait for the ECJ ruling.

 “The view now is that we press ahead” said  Mr Martin.

 Mr Martin also confirmed that if the European Parliament were to consent to ACTA, and the European Commission subsequently amended it, then any amendment would also have to be voted by the Parliament. And, if the Parliament declines consent to  ACTA, and the Commission subsequently amends it, then any such amendments would also have to be voted by  the Parliament.

The ACTA vote is technically a vote of  consent. The Parliament may either give its consent, or decline it. The big question now is when will the vote take place?

Some sources are suggesting that it could be as early as June, although I’d suggest that  July is more likely if it happens before the summer recess.

 My hunch  is that the powers within the Parliament will ensure that it is post-poned till the autumn.

 **Note that INTA stands for International Trade commitee and not International Trade Marks Association - see Barroso’s confusion: trade marks or trade committee?

 This is an original article from You may re-publish it under a Creative Commons licence, but you should cite my name and provide a link back to  Media and Academics – please cite as Monica Horten, European Parliament go-ahead for ACTA vote, , 21  May   2012 . Commercial users - please contact me