A new tool has been launched to strengthen the ties between IP owners and police and customs agencies. The aim is to make it easier for the enforcement bodies to intercept counterfeit goods and to help with the fight against piracy.

The Enforcement Database allows brand owners to upload information to a central database to which customs and police across the EU have access. The tool is free to use and the only requirement for an account is a registered trade mark or design in the EU (Community-wide or national rights are acceptable).

In addition to details of the registered IP right, brand owners can deposit any additional information that they think may assist officials in assessing whether suspect items are fake or genuine. This could include pictures of genuine products, information on key identifiers and packaging samples, as well as contact details and previous cases: essentially anything brand owners think is relevant and useful. Any information will be translated into the official languages of the EU.

The Database also allows brand owners to electronically complete and file Applications for Action and will even automatically complete the AFA with relevant rights. This should speed up the process of authorising customs officials to take border action.

This tool has the potential to be a valuable asset to brand owners. Its success will depend on as many right holders as possible registering, so enforcement officials come to see it as a first port of call.