New Customs Code introduces important changes

Ukraine

The new Customs Code of Ukraine, which entered into force on June 1 2012, introduces significant changes to the customs watch procedure for goods containing IP objects.

The changes to the Customs Code are both positive and negative for IP rights holders. The main changes include the following:

  • The requirement to deposit bail or bank guarantees - which the IP rights holder had to provide in order to cover the customs authorities’ expenses - has been cancelled. IP right holders are no longer obliged to deposit bail in the amount of €1,000 (approximately $1,280) for each IP right. This simplifies the procedure for entering IP rights into the Customs Register and reduces the costs for rights holders.
  • The list of IP objects that may be entered into the Customs Register for the purpose of customs surveillance has been extended. However, the new code does not specify the procedure for entering new IP objects into the Customs Register. The procedure for discovering and seizing newly-added IP objects during customs clearance is also not specified.
  • The customs authorities are now obliged to notify the IP rights owner of the seizure of the goods on the same day (rather than the next day, as was the case under the old Customs Code).
  • The IP rights owner has 10 working days from the date of the notification to file a claim with the court or another authority, or to file a request to extend the term of the seizure. Before the changes were introduced, the timeframe for filing a claim was 15 calendar days.
  • The new Customs Code introduces a simplified procedure for the destruction of seized goods. If the rights holder and the importer reach an agreement, the goods may be destroyed without initiating court proceedings. In this case, the importer is discharged from administrative liability. All expenses related to the destruction of the goods are to be covered by the rights holder.
  • The new Customs Code allows the re-labelling of goods that are infringing IP rights (eg, by removing an infringing logo or label), provided that the rights holder has consented to it. All expenses related to this procedure are to be covered by the rights holder.
  • Importantly, the new Customs Code discharges the customs authorities from any liability if they fail to discover counterfeit goods - in other words, the rights holder cannot claim damages if goods entered into the Customs Register were not discovered and seized by the customs authorities.

Elena Zubenko, PETOŠEVIC, Kiev

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