Customs measures for the protection of IP rights


Udo Pfleghar and Christiane Schenk

Customs measures for the protection of IP rights

Photo: blurAZ /

Customs power can be an efficient and economical weapon to protect IP rights, here illustrated in the context of a major trade fair, say Udo Pfleghar and Christiane Schenk.

Filing and maintaining an umbrella of registered rights is only the first step towards protecting a company’s IP rights. Equally important is the defence and enforcement of those rights through actions before the IP offices to keep potential infringers off the registers and to watch the markets in order to take legal action against counterfeiters, black marketers and others making use of IP rights in bad faith. A wide range of measures are available to right holders before the offices and the courts as well as with the assistance of customs and criminal prosecution authorities.

One of these weapons is provided by Regulation (EU) No 608/2013, which came into force on January 1, 2014 and which constitutes a very effective tool for owners of IP rights to take action against infringing goods essentially when these enter or leave the customs territory of the EU. This is particularly the case if they own registered Community trademarks or registered Community designs.

Applications for customs measures can also be based on numerous other rights such as patents, utility models, copyright, geographical indications, supplementary protection certificates for medicinal and plant protection products, trade names and plant variety rights, as well as on national trademarks and designs.

IP protection, counterfeiting, EU, trademarks