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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.

15 July 2011

ECJ issues warning to online marketplace operators

In L’Oréal SA v eBay International AG, the ECJ has provided clarification on the liability of companies operating internet marketplaces for trademark infringement committed by users, holding that, in certain circumstances, the operator can be liable for trademark infringement as a result of the postings of its users.

12 July 2011

eBay says it “can live with” today’s major ECJ judgment

Online marketplace eBay has said it “can live with” today’s judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in the ongoing litigation brought against it by L’Oréal. eBay told WTR that it was hoping for more clarity on a number of points, but that the ruling in general reflects “what eBay already does” with regard to stopping the sale of counterfeits on its platform.

01 July 2011

The road to EU adoption of ACTA begins here – settle down for a long journey

The process of the European Union adopting and implementing the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement has begun, with the European Commission determining that each individual member state must approve the controversial agreement. One former Member of the European Parliament has said that this could become a “long process”.

16 June 2011

New EU borders regulation to extend protection beyond trademarks

The European Commission’s proposed new regulation concerning customs enforcement of IP rights would extend protection to trade names, topographies and utility models for the first time. “The new regulation will cover more infringements and more rights,” said Caroline Edery, who is heading up the Commission’s review of Regulation 1383 at DG TAXUD. “Presently we cover trademarks and designs, and only counterfeit products. Now we will cover all the infringements of trademarks and designs. And we’ll include other infringements, such as parallel trade and overruns.”

10 February 2011

Advocate general issues opinion on seizure of goods in transit by Customs

Advocate General Cruz Villalón has stated that goods in transit or temporary storage cannot automatically be considered to be counterfeit and, therefore, seized by Customs, without sufficient grounds for suspecting that the goods are to be put on the market in the European Union. However, "suspicions" based on circumstantial evidence and lack of detail in customs declarations may be sufficient to trigger seizure.

14 December 2010

eBay may be liable for trademark infringement by its customers

In L’Oréal SA v eBay International AG, Advocate General Jääskinen has suggested that eBay was not liable for the trademark infringements of its customers, but that it could become so if it failed to take further action once notified. He also stated that injunctions were available against eBay in relation to repeated or continued infringements featuring the same user and the same trademark.

14 July 2010

Political machinations threaten core mission of EU trademarks office

The European Union can be a very peculiar place. As readers of this blog will know, the community may soon add enforcement and anti-counterfeiting to the remit of its financially successful trademark registry, OHIM. For many, it is a strange proposal, and OHIM president Wubbo de Boer has now echoed trademark owners' fears that the idea may be underpinned by political and financial motivations.

01 June 2010

Consultation paper on EU Customs Regulation published

Following its review of the EU Customs Regulation, the European Commission has published a consultation paper entitled "Review of EU legislation on customs enforcement of intellectual property rights". If, following the public consultation procedure, it is considered appropriate, the commission will prepare a proposal to replace the regulation.

28 May 2010

Poland makes submission to ECJ in Nokia Case

Poland's submission in Nokia Corporation v Her Majesty’s Commissioners of Revenue & Customs - the controversial reference to the ECJ on whether it is lawful to detain counterfeit goods in transit through the European Union - has now been filed. The Polish submission emphasizes that the purpose of the regulation is the protection of IP rights and the implementation of such protection by the customs authorities.

14 May 2010

Europe's anti-counterfeiting team between a rock and a hard place

The European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy is to hold its first events at the European Parliament from June 21 - 25. The week will include exhibitions, information sessions, short films and ceremonies to raise the profile of the observatory and awareness of the issues surrounding counterfeiting and piracy. These are commendable activities, so why does a question mark hang over the location of the observatory?

22 April 2010

EU study grinds to a halt, stranding CTM users

The latest victim of Eyjafjallajoekull is the study into the EU trademark system. Today was supposed to be CTM owners' chance to participate in the ongoing study into the EU trademark system, with no fewer than 15 user associations invited to Munich to meet the researchers from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) and provide further input. But now the meeting has been cancelled, users are concerned that their voices may not be heard.