Better borders? The proposed new EU customs regulation


Peter O'Byrne and Karen Roberts

The European Commission released a new draft Customs Regulation for the EU in May this year. Will it bring in the changes that IP owners are asking for in European border protection? Peter O'Byrne and Karen Roberts discuss the issues.

Counterfeiting and piracy is an important business challenge for IP rights holders worldwide. It remains a high priority at business, industry and government levels in the European Union, where the border protection regime is one of the world’s most powerful. In May this year, the European Commission proposed a new draft Customs Regulation for the EU to strengthen IP enforcement at EU borders, to replace Council Regulation (EC) No. 1383/2003.

The proposed regulation is the result of an action plan prepared by the commission to tackle the significant increase in counterfeit activity in recent years. The action plan comprised collaborations with EU member states and a public consultation in 2010.

It is a timely (or perhaps long awaited) review as there have been a number of concerns relating to the scope and operation of the current regulation. Also, the nature of counterfeit activity has changed, with more and more counterfeit goods couriered in small consignments and sold on-line and then sent by mail.

EU customs, Customs Regulation