On 24 May 2011, the EU Commission proposed a new regulation on the customs authorities' enforcement of intellectual property rights. On 12 June 2013, the European Parliament adopted the regulation. The new customs regulation will come into force on 1 January 2014 replacing the present regulation no. 1383/2003.
The importance of the new regulation
Both the new and the present regulations stipulate that the customs authorities may intervene against certain cross-border shipments containing goods suspected of infringing an intellectual property right such as design, patent and trademark rights.
Upon the request of a rights holder, the customs authorities may intervene against potentially infringing goods by suspending the release of or detaining the goods.
If a ruling has determined that the goods infringe an intellectual property right, the goods may be prevented from being sold and/or destroyed without compensating the recipient.
The amendments of the new regulation
The new regulation's list of intellectual property rights subject to control by the customs authorities will be extended to include e.g. trade names, utility models, topography for semiconductors and devices for circumvention of technological measures.
In addition, the customs authorities may intervene against confusingly similar trademarks. The present regulation only entitles intervention if the trademark is identical with or cannot be distinguished from a validly registered trademark.
The increased sale via the Internet has resulted in a significant increase in the number of minor shipments with counterfeited and pirated goods. The new regulation will address the rights holders' challenges by putting a stop to this kind of trade as a new simplified procedure will be introduced where the recipient must consent to the destruction of the goods against non-payment of any costs or observance of other formalities.