* China, source of many counterfeit goods, not in on talks
* U.S. calls counterfeiting a "global crime wave"
* Some gaps still to be ironed out; no national laws altered
(Adds detail, quotes, background, byline, links)
By Jonathan Lynn and Doug Palmer
GENEVA/WASHINGTON, Oct 6 Countries negotiating a
treaty to fight global trade in pirated goods released the text
of a 99-percent complete draft of the pact on Wednesday.
"We are at the final stage -- about to cross the finishing
line," said a European Union official close to the talks, who
asked not to be named.
The secrecy in which the negotiations have been conducted
has come under attack, prompting participating states to release
a text even though some differences remain.
Negotiators will tidy up the remaining gaps by email in the
coming weeks, the official said.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) does not
change participants' national laws on counterfeits, trademarks
and patents, but seeks common ground among countries to enforce
rules protecting intellectual property.
"This text reflects tremendous progress in the fight against
counterfeiting and piracy -- a global crime wave that robs
workers in the United States and around the world of good-paying
jobs and exposes consumers to dangerous products," U.S. Trade
Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.
He called on the nearly 40 participating countries to
quickly finalize the agreement after reaching a tentative deal
last week in Tokyo.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
has estimated that global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods
rose to $250 billion in 2007 from $100 billion in 2000.
PIRATES AND PROPERTY
The treaty covers the protection of trademarks and
copyrights ranging from films and music on the Internet, to the
design of fashion items and cars and medicines.
The treaty had been criticised by intellectual property
activists who feared it could be used to impose tougher rules on
developing countries than already agreed at the World Trade
Organization, in particular threatening trade among poorer
states in life-saving generic drugs.
In one area ACTA goes clearly beyond the WTO, drawing up
rules for intellectual property on the Internet, which was not a
commercial reality when the WTO started in 1995.
Contrary to the fears of some Internet activists, ACTA does
not require signatories to impose measures such as France's
three-strikes rule cutting off Internet access to people who
have illegally downloaded files several times. But it does allow
countries to impose such rules if they want.
It also gives countries the right -- but does not force them
to use it -- to require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or
groups such as YouTube to provide information to owners of
copyright whose property has been pirated.
And while allowing customs officials to seize suspect goods
at the border, even without a request from the rights holder or
a court order, it permits states to exempt small quantities of
goods in a traveller's personal luggage from such searches.
The treaty exempts patent infringement, such as some generic
drugs, from border searches even though countries can seize
suspected pirated goods in transit.
India and Brazil have challenged the EU at the WTO over
seizures of generic drugs, but EU trade spokesman John Clancy
said such seizures had never been EU policy.
Negotiators reached a compromise in the treatment of
"geographic indicators" -- place names for wines and food that
are a key concern of the European Union, but the EU, United
States and some other states remained divided in the scope and
treatment of some other issues.
The talks involved the United States, the EU and its 27
member states, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore,
South Korea and two developing countries, Morocco and Mexico.
China, the source of much of world's counterfeit goods
production, was not a party to the talks.
* For FACTBOX on gaps and compromises click on [ID:nLDE695260]
* For draft ACTA text go to link.reuters.com/xew27p
(Editing by Louise Ireland)