On July 19, 2013, entered into force EU Regulation No. 608/2013 concerning custom enforcement of intellectual property rights (the “Regulation”).
The Regulation, which shall become applicable as of January 1, 2014 by replacing former regulation n. 1383/2003, provides some improvements aimed to strengthen the enforcement process.
Firstly, the Regulation extends the range of protected intellectual property rights to trade names, topographies of semiconductor products, utility models and non-agricultural geographical indications.
Moreover, it is made compulsory for all Member States to implement a simplified procedure - now adopted discretionally by some of them – to allow the destruction of infringing goods, avoiding judicial proceedings.
Furthermore, in order to curb enforcement costs for small parcels, the new Regulation introduced a special procedure for "small consignments", i.e. shipments consisting of less than three units or having a gross weight less than 2 kg.
In such "small consignments" procedure, unlike under reg. 1383/2003, customs authorities shall ask the consent to goods forfeiture directly to the declarant or the holder of the goods and – where the consent is granted or presumed so - the customs will directly destroy the items. The IPR holder is notified – so that he can consider initiating infringement proceedings - only where the consent to the destruction is not given or cannot be presumed as given.