Customs proceeding against counterfeiting

With the wake of expansion of the EU 25 countries on May 1st 2004, which considerably expanded the borders with risky countries, the new Regulation has been adopted on border controls on counterfeit and pirated goods.

In the wake of the expansion of the 25 EU countries on May 1st 2004, which considerably extended the borders with risky countries, a new Regulation has been adopted on border control over counterfeit and pirated goods.



This Regulation covers a wider field of application:

– Plant based products, articles with designation of origin and geographical indications have been added to the list of merchandises.
– As an exception, Customs agents are empowered to intervene on their own simply when there is a suspicion of counterfeiting without necessarily having actual proof of it.

Merchandise covered by the regulation includes products aimed to be declared for free-circulation, export or re-export. Merchandise placed under customs surveillance, suspensive procedure or in a free zone or warehouse is also concerned.

Non-commercial merchandises carried as personal baggage by travellers are excluded, within the duty free limits set by the Customs.

An application for action by the right holder is the required and normal formality to launch the retention procedure by the Customs. It can concern one or a group of EU countries.

When there is no application for action, if merchandise is retained by the Customs (on the basis of suspicion), the right holder has three days from notification of retention to make the aforementioned application.

If merchandise is retained within the framework of an application for action,the right holder has ten days to take legal action if the merchandise appears to be counterfeit. For perishable food goods this delay cannot exceed three days.

This application is valid for one year and can be renewed.

The Application for action must be accompanied by a document containing an accurate description of the goods, specific information on the fraud, value of the original merchandise, etc. It is recommended for the right holder to enter all possible information to help the Customs identify any counterfeit of products.

The right holder must also designate a contact in each country. This can be Trademark Attorneys who can personally be called by the Customs to go and check the merchandise on hold at the Customs’ desk to confirm they are counterfeiting and further initiate appropriate legal proceedings in collaboration with Lawyers.

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