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UK Border Control and forfeiture of goods infringing intellectual property rights (IPR)

UK Border Control and forfeiture of goods infringing intellectual property rights (IPR)

01/07/09

It is possible to register IPR with UK Customs authorities who will look out for potentially infringing goods entering the UK and detain them whilst the owner of the IPR is informed.

In the past, Customs would seize items if a trade mark or copyright owner provided it with a witness statement to the effect that the goods infringe and should therefore be liable to forfeiture.

However, subsequent to a recent change in practice, seizure will only occur if a court so directs.

The change has come about because Customs recognises that the burden of proof should be upon the right holder to show that the goods do infringe i.e. by succeeding in infringement proceedings. Such infringement proceedings must be brought within a maximum of 20 working days of notification by Customs of detention, unless the goods are perishable in which case it is just 3 working days. If this does not happen the goods will be released for circulation.

Registration with Customs is still recommended as they will continue to monitor incoming goods for potentially infringing articles entering the UK, notify us and detain them at least for an initial period.