Under the current law the Ukrainian customs provide their assistance in protection of intellectual property rights in the course of foreign economic activity. For this very reason we recommend to begin anti-counterfeiting activities with registration of IPR objects in the customs register.
After the suspension of customs clearance of goods the IPR protection may be carried out either out of court or in the court. At the same time, if importer recognizes the infringement of right holder’s rights and is willing to conclude an amicable agreement, he will not be brought to administrative responsibility and the goods shall be destroyed under the simplified procedure. If an importer does not recognize the infringement of right holder’s rights, the protection of rights shall be carried out through administrative and civil proceedings.
According to the results of our company’s practice in this field nearly 90 IPR objects were registered in the Customs Register. We maintain continuous cooperation with the customs authorities in the cases of customs suspension of goods suspected of infringement of IP rights and being counterfeit.
In particular, during the recent two months of the year 2014 due to the close cooperation between our company and the South Customs it was possible to prevent big amounts of fake products from being imported into Ukraine and stop infringement of IP rights.
During June-August in the area of operations of the South Customs pursuant to Article 399 (suspension of customs clearance of goods based on the data of the Customs Register) of the Customs Code of Ukraine (hereinafter – the CCU) in the course of the customs inspection the following shipments have been suspended: schoolbags (over 200 items), grass mowers (over 2000 items), petrol-driven power saws (over 200 items) and petrol-driven trimmers with internal combustion engines (over 1000 items).
For the same period pursuant to Article 400 of the CCU (suspension of customs clearance of goods at the initiative of a body of revenues and duties), the South Customs has suspended customs clearance of women’s bags (around 550 items) and belts (over 2000 items).
In all these cases the customs suspension took place because of revealing by the customs officers of the elements of infringement of IP rights, in particular application on the goods of famous trademarks or the signs confusingly similar to the trademarks included in the Customs Register or registered as international trademarks.
According to the requirements of the CCU, for the purpose of assisting in protection of proprietary intellectual property rights the officers of the South Customs contacted the companies which are the owners of trademarks included in the Customs Register or the owners of trademarks protected under the law and notified them about the goods declared for customs clearance which bear similar signs.
Having carried out all the necessary studies the right holders’ representatives arrived at conclusion that import of the above-mentioned goods constitutes infringement of their proprietary IP rights to trademarks since these goods are counterfeit.
In order to remove the elements of infringement of IP rights, in accordance with Article 402 of the CCU (replacement of labeling on goods and their packaging) it is necessary to remove the signs from the counterfeit products and their packaging having obtained prior consent from the right holder.
Eventually, the signs infringing intellectual property rights of the IP holding companies were removed from the goods and the packaging and at the consent of the right holders the customs clearance of these goods has been restored according to par. 11 Art. 399 of the CCU.
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