The “Economic Operators Registration and Identification number” (EORI number), basically an ID number for customs purposes that is assigned by a customs authority to any businesses or people (economic operators) wishing to trade in the EU has just become a mandatory field in any customs application for action (AFA).

EORI background

In 2009 and in order to enhance the security in the exchange of sensitive information among customs authorities (and customs authorities and other authorities) concerning the entry and exit of goods in and out of the EU, and the persons involved in those operations, the EU Commission established the creation of an EORI number which would be unique to each person and would help the authorities to easily identify those persons[1]. The EORI number usually consists of the country code of the issuing Member State followed by the company’s VAT number or the ID number of the person in that Member State.

Now, with the entry into force of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1209 of 13 August 2020 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1352/2013 establishing the forms provided for in the Regulation (EU) No 608/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights, the EORI number has become a mandatory field in any customs application for action (AFA).

Locating / requesting your EORI number

As of 15 September 2020, all right holders and legal representatives who wish to submit a new AFA, or to amend or extend the protection of their or their client’s existing AFA, must obtain an EORI number - if they don’t have one - or indicate this number in the corresponding form.

But despite this short deadline there is no reason to panic. It is important to realise that this number has been operating since at least 2010. This means that most likely all right holders, and particularly companies currently trading in the EU, already have an EORI number in place. It is therefore recommendable to first check internally with the corresponding department whether this number exists or not.

If no EORI number is found, there is no other choice than to request one and to do so there is a difference between those right holders established in an EU Member State and non-EU residents. The former should request the assignment of an EORI number to the customs authorities of the EU country in which they are established. The latter should do so to the authorities in the country where they first lodged their AFA. Right holders can also request an EORI number through their legal representatives.

There are several online sources available with information about this number and the necessary steps to request it, for example:

  • The European Commission’s webpage on EORI numbers
  • The German, Irish and Spanish customs portals

Next steps 

In addition to locating your existing EORI number or applying for a new one, for all those right holders who uploaded their AFAs to the IP Enforcement Database (see here and here), the EUIPO is organizing a webinar on 6 October 2020 with the cooperation of the European Commission to explain this number and how to include it in the AFA. More information can be found on the EUIPO IP Enforcement Portal. For more information, please get in touch with the contacts for this article.