Customs controls that goods entering, exiting and being transited through the country are not counterfeit goods or other products infringing on intellectual property rights or copyrights (IPR). The controls aim to protect citizens and society from products that are harmful to health and safety, and to protect society’s tax revenues and the economic interests of the right holder. The controls are based on a Regulation of the European Parliament and Council concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights.
The regulation defines, which procedures the customs authority must follow if it during a customs control or an inspection discovers goods, which are suspected of violating intellectual property rights or infringing on copyrights, especially regarding goods that are
- declared for release for free circulation, export or re-export.
- entering or leaving the customs territory of the Union;
- placed under a suspensive procedure, in a free zone or free warehouse.
Customs mainly controls goods for which the right holder has left an application to Customs for operation in accordance with regulation. The application is generally valid for one year, after which it can be renewed.
Customs can also, ex officio, stop products without an operation application.
Points to consider
- Trademark is an identifier, which separates goods or services made or produced by a company from another company’s corresponding goods or services.
- Design rights protects the appearance of the goods or part thereof. The object of the protection is always a concrete item or part thereof and is always perceived visually.
- Patent is an exclusive right granted to the inventor for exploiting the invention professionally.
- Pirate copy is a product where a work protected by someone else’s copyright has been copied unlawfully.
- Counterfeit product is one where a trademark or a copy of the trademark owned by someone else has been added to a product, or a product that unlawfully imitates the appearance of another protected product.
- Infringing product: A product can infringe on intellectual property rights or copyrights, without it being a counterfeit product.
Submitting an operation application to Customs in accordance with regulation is free of charge. The operation application is a standardised form, where the right holder, or their authorised representative, provides Customs with information on their immaterial rights for control measures. The application can be valid in one or several Member States.
The applications can be sent to Customs
The Enforcement Department -Intelligence and Analysis
Commercial Risk Management
PO Box 512
or by email to ipr.decisions(at)tulli.fi
The application form with completion instructions are available on the EU Commission’s website:
Regulation (EU) No 2015/2424 of the European Parliament and the Council, which came into force 23 March 2016, enables the supervision of trademark infringements in transit. Because of this regulation, customs authorities in the Member States have more opportunities to supervise IPR consignments in transit.
Products under transit, which infringe on a trademark of the European Union, can be stopped based on EU Regulation 608/2013, if the trademark is also protected in the country of destination. Therefore, references to the readmitting of the consignment into the EU territory is no longer necessary. However, it should be noted that this does not include design or patent infringements.