OHIM Observatory's Enforcement Database now available

European Union

It has been confirmed that the much-anticipated and long-awaited Enforcement Database is now available. The Enforcement Database has been specifically created in a bid to assist brand owners and customs and police officers in the detection, monitoring and control of counterfeit goods across the European Union.

The system works by brand owners 'uploading' to the database details of their brand and the goods it is applied to, all of which will assist in determining if a particular consignment contains counterfeit goods. This can include pictures, packaging/product identifiers as well as logistical data on valid consignment routes or details about prior cases of counterfeit shipments found in the past. The information provided is then translated into all of the official EU languages and held centrally in a secure and readily accessible manner for use by customs/border officials across all EU member states.

However, if required, there are options to tailor viewing rights such that not all information is available to certain agencies. The database has also been created so it integrates with both the customs and police internal networks. Therefore, it will be possible to use the information uploaded to easily create and file electronic 'applications for action' (which enable enforcement officers to take action against the seized goods/stopped consignment).

There is no cost to use or register brand particulars on the database; however, brand owners must have a registered trademark within the European Union (ie, national trademark in any member state, or a Community trademark.

Counterfeiting continues to be a significant and ever increasing problem faced by brand owners and one which can significantly harm the goodwill and reputation of a brand in the market place. It can also have further reaching consequences, including health and safety concerns relating to certain counterfeit products and economic loss. It is therefore hoped that this unique and important tool will be welcomed and widely used by brand owners in order to support the fight against counterfeiting within the European Union - ultimately the Enforcement Database's overall effectiveness will largely centre on how many companies decide to use it.

Wendy Oliver, D Young & Co, Southampton

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