New bill will allow disclosure of IP infringers' identity

Japan

As part of the government's campaign against counterfeiting, the Ministry of Finance has submitted a bill amending the Customs Tariff Law that will help IP owners take immediate action against infringers by allowing customs to reveal the identity of the importers of suspected counterfeits.

This is part of the anti-counterfeiting campaign that the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the National Police Agency, the Ministry of Finance and the Agency of Cultural Affairs launched in November. A television campaign and posters displayed for a few weeks in international airports and police stations, among other places, alerted both consumers and IP rights holders to the fact that:

  • counterfeit products are very common;

  • selling these products is illegal; and

  • purchasing these products allows infringement of IP rights to spread further.

The message also appeared on the Yahoo auction website for a month. The JPO will continue to try and educate consumers about the importance of protecting intellectual property and fighting counterfeiting by distributing brochures and further updating its website.

The Customs Tariff Law was already amended last April to enable owners of patents, utility models and designs to benefit from the same right as trademark and copyright owners to petition customs authorities to enjoin importers of alleged counterfeit products.

Mineko Mouri, Yuasa and Hara, Tokyo

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