How to empower Chinese customs authorities
Developing a good relationship with Customs and arming officials with information about your brand and products is key to strengthening protection at the borders.
The General Administration of Customs (GAC) is regularly looking to improve its ability to enforce IP rights in China. In a new effort to improve its standards, it aims to designate a training plan at the end of each year based on trends in customs seizures.
Generally speaking, the GAC will seek to engage with brands that face frequent infringement and is open to working with those that show a strong willingness to participate in the programme. While the GAC may reach out to brand owners with which it is familiar or about which it is particularly concerned, any brand owner may request to engage in customs training and may be granted an opportunity to train officers depending on the existing schedule. That said, training sessions are popular and the annual schedule fills up quickly, so planning should be made in advance.
While full GAC training is possible, given the sheer size of China and the number of ports in the country, brand owners should focus on customs offices where infringing products are concentrated or more likely.
In sum, the fight against counterfeiting and infringement requires strong protection at the Chinese borders. With a vast amount of goods being shipped into and out of China, utilising customs authorities is the key to success. To access these protections, brand owners should register their rights in China and record these rights with Customs. They should then engage in training the authorities to best detect problematic shipments during in their daily inspections. At the same time, brand owners should create a smart monitoring plan to keep an eye out for problems and alert customs officials of known suspected shipments being exported by targets.
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