Brazil tackles the Netherlands on world stage


Otto Licks and Ricardo Dutra Nunes

On May 12, 2010, Brazil’s delegation to the WTO requested consultations with the EU and the Netherlands over the alleged seizure of shipments of generic drugs en route from India to Brazil and in transit through the Netherlands.

These drugs were suspected of infringing Dutch intellectual property rights. The complaint claims that the drugs were only patented in the Netherlands, but not in India and Brazil, so should not have been seized.

In fact, the customs authorities acted in accordance with the European Communities Council Regulation 1383/2003 and with the TRIPS Agreement, which regulates the “suspension of release by customs authorities”, providing the following:

“Members shall, in conformity with the provisions set out below, adopt procedures to enable a right holder, who has valid grounds for suspecting that the importation of counterfeit trademark or pirated copyright goods may take place, to lodge an application in writing with competent authorities, administrative or judicial, for the suspension by the customs authorities of the release into free circulation of such goods.

generic drugs, WTO