Proposed new EU customs measures aim at reinforcing the legal security that trademark owners can acquire by trademark registration
As the European Commission stregthens the EU intellectual property regime, Brussels will soon move to enhance the powers of customs authorities to intervene when companies suspect that their trademarks and know-how are being infringed.
With the growth in cross-border e-commerce and mail-order business, the number of trademark infringements is rising steeply from the 2009 figures of 40,000 cases.
The proposed new customs measures will close loopholes between the trademark owner’s IP rights and the power of the border authorities to intervene. For example, some EU countries protect non-agricultural indications of geographic origin such as “Bohemian” glass, but the customs authorities cannot currently take any enforcement action against offending copies.
Michel Barnier of the EU Internal Market Commission said on Tuesday the aim was to balance the needs of rights holders, to encourage innovation and, at the same time, allow consumers and users ready access to online services. He pointed out that unless rights are protected, there will be no investment in innovation.
Brussels is also proposing to create new types of infringements to cover cases of “lookalike” goods. There will be a simplified procedure for resolving cases involving only small consignments of counterfeit or pirated goods so as to dispose of these more easily without involving rights-holders.