For trade mark owners concerned by counterfeit goods being imported into Australia, an option exists to record a Notice of Objection with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Once a notice is lodged, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers will watch for any potentially unauthorised or counterfeit goods bearing the trade mark and, if identified, seize those goods before they enter the Australian market.

ABF officers are adept in recognising counterfeit goods, provided they are trained in specifics of the genuine trade mark, such as particular dimensions, colours, or orientations that may be in use. 

It is important that the ABF, and ideally also your Trade Marks Attorney, is aware of these design specifications so as to assist the ABF officers in recognising unauthorised use. While ABF officers are happy to meet with representatives of the trade mark owner to receive training on the composition of the genuine trade mark, the Department has recently issued an invitation to brand owners who have lodged a Notice of Objection, to participate in the Department’s IP Rights/Counterfeit detection training program which will be held in most Australian cities from May 2016. 

If selected for the detection training, rights holders will be able to showcase both genuine and non-genuine goods so that ABF officers can examine the goods to determine whether a product is a counterfeit.