New Customs Code now in force
The new Customs Code of the Russian Federation, which has introduced a register of goods protected by IP rights, has come into force. It is hoped that the register will help customs authorities to detect counterfeit goods.
Provisions relating to the register are set out in Article 395 of Chapter 38 of the Customs Code, which also includes a special regime for customs clearance of trademarked goods. At present, entry on to the register is free of charge.
A federal executive body in charge of customs affairs will oversee the listing of goods protected by IP rights on to the register and will arrange for its official publication. It is hoped that publishing the register will raise awareness of the types of goods that are protected, which may in turn help to prevent the inadvertent spread of counterfeit products across the Russian Federation.
The requirements for obtaining a listing on the register are noted in the Regulations on the Protection of IP Rights by Customs Authorities 1199 of October 27 2003. In order to register its protected goods, an applicant must submit a number of documents to the relevant federal executive body, including:
- an application in the name of the right holder, containing its full details;
- a description of the particular protected goods;
- the name, number and date of the document confirming legal protection for the relevant goods together with a notarized copy of this document;
- an indication of the time frame for inclusion on to the register;
- a list of the relevant classes of the Nice Classification;
- details of any persons representing the interests of the right holder by way of power of attorney; and
- copies of licence and/or sub-licence agreements, if any.
The federal executive body will issue a decision on whether to allow registration of an applicant's protected goods within two months of receiving the application.
Article 395 of the Customs Code also governs the procedure relating to the suspension of customs clearance where goods are suspected of being counterfeit. It stipulates that a right holder must provide a written security or an insurance contract to compensate the person declaring the goods at customs, the owner of the transported goods, the consignee or any other person specified in Article 16 of the Customs Code for material harm that may be caused in connection with the suspension of customs clearance. The amount of security or the insured amount should not be less than R500,000 and the right holder must pay the requisite sum within five days of receiving notification that its goods have been registered. This sum must be paid in all circumstances, even if the mark owner has not requested a suspension of customs clearance.
According to Item 3 of Article 395, goods protected by IP rights can be deleted from the register:
- at the request of the right holder;
- if the right holder does not provide security;
- upon expiration of the term of legal protection granted to the goods protected by the IP right; or
- if, during the customs clearance procedure, the right holder fails to apply to the relevant federal executive body for protection of its rights.
Magdalena MV Sekula and Irina Kosareva, Gowlings International Inc, Moscow
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