Customs Seizures Throughout The European Union

by Isabel Davies

On 1 July 2004 European Union Regulation 1383/2003 came into force, simplifying the procedures for seizure by Customs of infringing goods throughout the EU. Businesses should consider their current customs seizure arrangements, as significant efficiencies are now available. Preventing counterfeit or pirated goods from entering the EU can be much more efficient than trying to stop distribution once the goods enter the EU.


There are two routes available to IP rights owners:

A Community application can be made in respect of EU-wide intellectual property rights, such as Community Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs. The procedure requires one application to be made to one Customs Authority, for example, HM Customs & Excise in the UK, with a request that the application covers any or all of the 25 Member States of the EU. Once the Community application is granted, a copy of the decision with the supporting information and any necessary translation is sent to the other nominated Member States.

National applications can be made in respect of national intellectual property rights, such as UK or French trade marks and patents. The procedure requires a separate application to be made to each of the relevant Member States in which national intellectual property rights are held and Customs seizures are desired. Community-wide rights (such as CTMs) can also be notified using the national route.

An application requires two nominated representatives. These representatives will be required to liaise with Customs regarding the legal procedures and provide technical details to authenticate suspected goods that have been seized.

Accompanying an application is a declaration of liability, to be completed by the owner of the intellectual property rights. This is a standard form of undertaking whereby the owner agrees to reimburse costs incurred by Customs in respect of any seizures and the value of any goods destroyed. The reimbursement is only required in the event that an action is discontinued due to the act or omission of the owner, or where the goods in question were found not to infringe the owner's rights. This procedure is less cumbersome than that previously in place, which required payment of a security cash deposit equivalent to the value of the goods seized.

The application should include information about the IP rights owner's products, any specific information on the pattern of fraud suffered and a...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT