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International Group Examines Solutions for Jurisdiction and Consumer Protection for e-Business

July 29, 1999
New York, USA and Montreal, Canada

The Internet Law & Policy Forum (ILPF) hosted an international conference, JURISDICTION: BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN A BORDERLESS MEDIUM in Montreal, Canada on July 26-27.

In a major keynote address at the ILPF conference on Monday, July 26, 1999, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Robert Pitofsky praised the ILPF "for getting ahead of the issues by focusing on jurisdiction and the availability of remedies over the Internet. It is important for these issues to be worked out and I am glad to see the ILPF addressing them today." Chairman Pitofsky noted. "Commerce on the Internet is one of the most amazing developments to affect business in the last hundred years." Pitofsky observed. The Chairman reminded the audience that it would not be easy to work out all the issues for cross border e commerce, concluding that "There must be a range of ways to address these issues, including the use of existing law, development of new laws if required, better consumer education, and industry self regulation. Other speakers included Francis Gurry, Assistant Director General and the Legal Counsel of the World Intellectual Property Organization, Andrew J. Pincus, General Counsel for the United States Department of Commerce, and Jenny Clift, Legal Officer to UNCITRAL.

Throughout two days of deliberations, legal experts, representatives of business and government, including national consumer protection agencies and consumer representatives from a total of fourteen nations recognized (1) the positive economic impact of increased e commerce, (2) the need for effective consumer protection, both governmental protection from fraud and affordable redress for defective products from distant sellers, and (3) the need for a predictable legal environment for business. "This international discussion was an essential first step towards finding workable solutions." explained Ruth Day, ILPF Executive Director.

Masanobu Katoh, ILPF Chair and representative of member Fujitsu Limited continued. "We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the conference. The ILPF is honored to host such a distinguished group of international guest speakers and participants. Their invaluable expertise has provided a solid framework within which to conduct future discussions and projects." Mr. Katoh observed that there was a sense among participants that a consensus on certain issues, perhaps for business to business electronic commerce and for strong protections against consumer fraud, might be achieved more quickly. He also noted a general recognition of a need for models for effective consumer redress. He added: "The ILPF is dedicated to continue working on projects and looks forward to exchanges with all interested groups."

Materials from the conference, including submitted papers, a transcript of the deliberations, and a summary report, will be distributed and become publicly available on the ILPF's web site, www.ilpf.org, by the end of August according to Ruth Day, ILPF Executive Director.

The ILPF is an international, non-profit organization established in 1995 by companies with a common interest in fostering the growth of electronic commerce and communications worldwide. ILPF, the voice and resource of the practicing Internet business lawyer, strives to bridge the gap between existing law and that needed to foster the development of global electronic commerce and communications by examining legal and policy implications. Its members include twenty-four companies, many of them global, with a stake in the growth of electronic commerce and communications.

Press contact:
Ruth Day
, Executive Director, ILPF

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