Challenges remain as Customs recordal system turns one

United Arab Emirates

On October 1 2006 Dubai Customs issued a notice stating that it would begin accepting recordals of registered trademarks. In the year since the announcement of the new procedures, recordals have been proceeding relatively smoothly and the customs authorities have been notifying brand owners of suspect shipments. However, the short timeframes to file complaints and lack of access to information about the shipment have proved problematic in some instances.

In another initiative, the customs authorities have also set up a procedure for filing information on specific containers suspected of containing counterfeit goods. Shipments can be stopped even if the trademark involved has not been recorded with Customs previously. However, an application to record the trademark together with a complaint will need to be filed in order to request Customs to detain the shipment.

Challenges for Customs and brand owners alike remain. As the volume of trade through Dubai's ports increases, the more difficult it will become for Customs to police such trade. For brand owners, the risk is that trade will move to ports located in other Emirates, where formal recordal systems are not yet in place. However, the Dubai customs authorities are attempting to offset this risk by inviting inspectors from other Emirates and Gulf Cooperation Council countries (ie, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar) to attend its bi-annual brand training weeks.

Sara Holder, Rouse & Co International, Dubai

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