EU UPDATE: Customs – New EU Customs IPR Enforcement Rules – 1 Jan 2014

From the 1st of  January 2014 new Customs enforcement rules on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)  will enter into force in the EU as a result of Regulation (EU) No 608/2013.
It will replace Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003, and sets out the new procedural rules for Customs Authorities to enforce IPR’s for goods subject to customs supervision or customs control.

According to the European Commission, Regulation(EU) No 608/2013:

  • “expands the range of IPR infringements covered;
  • adjusts procedures in order to reduce administrative burdens and costs;
  • ensures that high quality information is provided to Customs so as to enable better risk management;
  • includes measures to ensure that the interests of legitimate traders are protected”

As with all new legislation, whether or not the new Regulation will live up to its expectations remains to be seen…
As a result of incidents regarding medicines qualified as generic in the country of origin being seized in transit in the EU by Customs authorities in EU countries where they were still covered by a specific patent right, Brazil and India had raised serious concerns before the WTO regarding compliance of the EU with its obligations under certain provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). As a result of these disputes and the EU Court of Justice’s clarifying judgment in joined cases C-446/09 and C-495/09 (Philips/Nokia), the European Commission had issued  a short Guideline as to how to deal with the issue of IPR enforcement for goods in transit trough the EU.
I. New Legislation:

  1. The new Regulation (EU) No 608/2013 on Customs enforcement of IPR can be consulted here: 

II.Former Legislation:

  1. The old Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003 remains available here:
  2. Its implementing Regulation, Commission Regulation (EC) No 1891/2004 remains available here:
  3. The 2012 Guidelines, officially called the “Guidelines of the European Commission concerning the enforcement by EU customs authorities of intellectual property rights with regard to goods, in particular medicines, in transit through the EU” remain available here:

III. Judgement:

  1. The operative part of the judgment (reference for preliminary ruling) of the joined Cases C-446/09 and C-495/09 (Philips/Nokia) is available here:
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