Changes in the community customs legislation regarding the protection of intellectual property rights

McGregor & Partners announce the passing of new regulations in the community customs legislation, for the purpose of simplifying and reasoning the activities of customs authorities. Passed in accordance with the Regulation of the European Parliament and EU Commission, the new Community Customs Code shall apply as from 1 June 2016 and shall be binding, in all its aspects, with direct application, upon all member states.

One of the objectives of the EU customs policy is to enhance the efficiency of organizing the customs controls, aiming to streamline the customs procedures and reduce the administrative duties. The recent regulations at European level in the customs field extend, as such, the competences of the customs authorities in EU with a view to enhance the controls and confiscate the counterfeited goods ”traveling” within the EU territory. In this respect, the community customs authorities are allowed to control and confiscate, as the case may be, goods which are transiting the EU territory with a non-EU destination.

The counterfeited products entering EU represent a concern for the European companies, and more and more companies declare to be affected by such phenomena.

The new regulations bring, therefore, good news for the holders of trademarks, as they will contribute to prevent the entry of counterfeited products on the EU markets, or their misappropriation on the EU territory.

The ”Illegal Industry” producing counterfeited goods includes more and more sectors. As such, apart from the traditional domains affected: fashion, jewelries, money, there are recorded cases of counterfeit in the food industry, pharmacy or car spare parts, industries if touched by such phenomena, could seriously affect the health and safety of public consumers.

A report of the European Commission presents a statistic regarding the sectors affected by the presence of counterfeited product on the community market. In 2013 the first three positions of the classification of counterfeited products were occupied by clothing, followed by medicines and cigarettes.

In 2008 the value of counterfeited products raised up to 525 milliards euro, and in 2015 it is estimated that the value of these goods shall exceed 1.400 billion euros.

“One of the reasons for which the community customs legislation suffered in the last years some amendments and updating, was also justified by the need to prevent and fight against the continuous increase in the amount of counterfeited goods from different fields of community markets“ explains Boiana Berchi, Partner McGregor & Partners.

Besides the New Community Customs Code, two other main types of regulations have positively influenced the norms regarding the measures to fight counterfeiting: controlling the goods at the custom point and the specific regulations of each sector.

All these changes at European level regarding the protection of intellectual property rights make part of a larger strategy of fighting against the counterfeiting and piracy phenomena, sustained by the community customs authorities together with the trademark holders and the European companies affected by this phenomenon.