New Powers for the UK Border Force

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The European border force is a well run machine carrying out over 90,000 procedures of counterfeit and pirated goods which lead to the seizure of nearly 40 million items with a value of 900 million Euros.

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In the UK, our border agency derives its powers from the Council Regulation (EU) 608/2013 concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No. 1383/2003. This has recently come into force at the start of the year. This regulation sets out the ways that intellectual property holders can record their rights with the border force agency and request that the customs officers look out for any articles that infringe that right.

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This new legislation gives an extension of rights from predecessor, including a wider implementation of a streamlined procedure for allowing the destruction of goods without the need to go in to infringement proceedings first. Under this new legislation there are 2 routes that an agency may take the ex officio or where the right holder has a customs application in place. Ex Officio routes are now very uncommon. Where the Border Agency decides to seize goods that are not covered by a customs application, it invites relevant rights holders to file a customs application within 3 days otherwise the goods are released.

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A customs application protects Intellectual Property right owners from infringing articles being brought into the country. Each right holder may only file one application which lasts for a year. For the Border agency to make sure that they only detain fake or infringing articles they request that in the application form that a description, value and nomenclature tariff number are included so that they can distinguish between an infringing article and the real one as well as including characteristics of the real article to better understand what to look for in fake goods. Once the year is up then the right holder will have to file for an extension which will run for another year.

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When Customs finds something suspicious, they will notify the rights holder of the items and quantity, name and address of declarant and the country of origin. Where the goods are small consignments parcels up to 2kg the agency will destroy the goods immediately without notification to the right holder. Where the right holder concludes that the goods imported infringe their rights, it needs to prevent the goods from being released. This is done by either getting the consent of the importer/ declarants permission for destruction or abandonment or commence court proceedings for them to judge whether it infringes or not. The right holder must do this within 10 days of the initial notification

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