Hungary adopts tougher rules to combat pirated imports


The Hungarian government has finally adopted Governmental Decree 371/2004, which brings Hungary's IP regime up-to-date by implementing Council Regulation 1383/2003.

In 2004 Hungary established the Intellectual Property Enforcement Department within the Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard and introduced new procedural rules in order to help combat the import of counterfeit products from non-EU countries. However, the EU regulation on which these procedural rules were based was replaced by Council Regulation 1383/2003 shortly after the rules came into force, rendering them out of date. The new decree resolves the discrepancy between these two systems and brings Hungary's IP regime into line with the new EU regulations.

The main changes introduced by the new decree are as follow:

  • IP rights holders must accept liability if the procedure for the seizure of the infringing goods is terminated due to their actions or omissions, or if the goods in question are found not to infringe their IP rights;

  • although rights holders need no longer provide a security when requesting the customs authority to take action, they must shoulder the costs of storage of the allegedly infringing goods during the investigation and, in certain cases, the costs of destruction; and

  • under the so-called fast-track procedure, if the holder or owner of the goods suspected of being infringing directly notifies the customs authority of its intent to abandon the goods for destruction, the costs shall only be borne by the IP rights holder if the owner or holder of the goods fails to meet the costs.

Ivan Bartal, Oppenheim és Tásai Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Budapest

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