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24 February 2014

ECJ clarifies scope of Customs Regulation

In Blomqvist v Rolex SA, the ECJ has considered a request for a preliminary ruling by the Danish Supreme Court concerning the interpretation of the Customs Regulation (1383/2003). The ECJ’s ruling makes it clear that the seizure of counterfeit goods pursuant to the regulation is permitted merely by virtue of the acquisition of the goods through an online sales website in a non-member country.

06 February 2014

ECJ decision 'extends brand owners' right to seize goods'

The decision of the ECJ in Blomqvist v Rolex SA (Case C-98/13), issued this morning, could significantly enhance the rights of trademark owners to seize goods. However, its true impact will only become apparent when national courts apply the theory to the facts.

02 December 2013

OHIM Observatory's Enforcement Database now available

The long-awaited Enforcement Database, launched by the European Observatory on Infringements of IP Rights, 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.

17 May 2013

MoU on sale of counterfeits online works, but constant vigilance is needed

The European Commission has issued its report on the functioning of the MoU on the Sale of Counterfeit Goods via the Internet. Signed in 2011, the purpose of the MoU is to establish a code of practice in the fight against the sale of counterfeit goods online and to enhance collaboration among its signatories. The report shows that the approach adopted by the MoU works, but highlights the need for internet platforms and rights holders to remain alert.

18 January 2013

New Customs and IP enforcement regulation provides major benefits to rights holders

The proposed text of a new regulation dealing with Customs and intellectual property enforcement has been published by the European Council and Parliament. It brings in an important new procedure in relation to small consignments, which will be of great benefit to rights holders. However, the lack of meaningful progress in relation to goods in transit and costs is disappointing.

13 September 2012

All change at OHIM as restructure and appointment of Observatory head are announced

OHIM has announced an organisational shake-up which brings its Academy under the Observatory’s umbrella, with Paul Maier heading up the new section. The move comes as plans continue apace for the Observatory’s first work programme.

27 July 2012

EU Customs’ counterfeit seizures rise, but do they present the full picture?

The volume and value of counterfeit goods seized by EU Customs continues to rise, according to figures released by the European Commission this week. 115 million products were seized in 2011 (up from 103 million in 2010) and the value of the goods increased from €1.1 billion in 2010 to €1.3 billion last year. However, discrepancies in accounting methods and differing levels of seizures mean that it can only give a snapshot of the problem of worldwide counterfeiting.

04 July 2012

European Parliament rejects ACTA, INTA and BASCAP blame misinformation

The European Parliament has voted to reject the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Despite a last-minute request to delay the vote, Parliament had its say – with 478 votes for the ‘no’ camp. In response, INTA and BASCAP have urged the countries that have negotiated and signed ACTA to continue their efforts to ratify the trade agreement.

04 July 2012

Debate over Customs Regulation serves as warm-up act to key ACTA vote

Counterfeiting is firmly on the European agenda this week. Last night the European Parliament voted to adopt proposed changes to the draft regulation on Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, while later today comes a key vote on ACTA.

06 June 2012

OHIM seeks views on its IP think tank plans

This week OHIM was officially entrusted with responsibility for The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights. While a number of projects are underway, the office has launched a consultation to gain feedback on the role its planned IP think tank can play.

26 March 2012

OHIM gets green light to expand activities

The Council of the European Union has adopted the proposal to entrust OHIM with the EU Observatory on Infringements of IP Rights. While the move will expand OHIM’s role, the council has stressed that the new tasks will not extend to participation in individual operations or investigations carried out by national authorities.

20 January 2012

Concern voiced over proposed EU Customs Regulation changes

Proposed changes to the EU Customs Regulation are designed to reinforce the current legal framework for customs' actions, as well as tackling the trade in small consignments of counterfeit goods sent by post. However, this week commentators expressed disappointment over the scope of the proposals.

09 December 2011

ECJ ruling makes snatching counterfeits in transit less straightforward

In Joined Cases Philips and Nokia, in a disappointing decision for IP rights owners, the ECJ has ruled that Customs may seize goods that are "in transit" through the European Union from non-member state to non-member state (under procedures that suspend normal Customs measures) only where there has been a "commercial act" in relation to the goods. It turned down the invitation to find that the "manufacturing fiction" could be applied to secure such seizure.

01 December 2011

ECJ’s goods in transit decision places burden on brand owners

In the joined Nokia and Philips cases, the ECJ has specified the conditions under which goods in transit can be seized by European customs authorities. While it has expanded on the circumstances in which temporary detention is permissible, it still leaves brand owners with a number of significant challenges, with one commentator branding the decision “disappointing”.

19 July 2011

A billion-euro problem: how the EU postal network is the rising threat to brands

Fresh statistics from EU Customs confirm what many brand owners have feared for some time: consumers are buying more and more counterfeits through the mail. EU Customs claims to have seized 48,000 goods from the postal system in 2010, up by a factor of three from 15,000 the year before. Moreover, the authorities claim that seized counterfeits have broken through the billion-euro barrier, leaving brand owners wondering how the problem will be addressed.