Designer fashion houses like Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Chanel can now sleep tighter, following amendments to the Trade Marks Act*. But counterfeit importers should beware; it’s now harder for you to run and hide.

Previously, where Australian Customs seized imported goods suspected to be counterfeits, Customs would hold them for an ‘action period’. During this period, it was up to the fashion house to pursue a case against the importers for IP infringement. If the fashion house did not commence proceedings for any reason (for example, because they couldn’t trace the importers), then the counterfeit goods were released back to the importer and would invariably make their way into consumers’ hands.

The new Act aims to change this. Where suspected counterfeit goods are held by Customs, an importer now must submit a ‘claim for release’, and give their name and contact details. Previously, this information was only available to a fashion house by court order (too hard). The new Act will now make it easier for the fashion houses to identify and go after counterfeit importers, especially repeat offenders.

Good news for fashion houses and consumers who want the genuine article; bad news for pirates and try-hards.