Why Customs can help patent owners
Customs authorities provide an effective weapon against counterfeit goods in Europe.
Jasper Helder and Francis van Velsen of Simmons & Simmons in Rotterdam
examine their relevance in defending patent rights
The last decade of the 20th century saw a dramatic increase in
imports into the EU of counterfeit goods. This trend is continuing
in the first years of the 21st century. One of the main aims of the
European Customs authorities is the fight against the import into
the EU of products that infringe IP rights. Customs have been
authorized to detain goods based on three anti-piracy
The Customs Regulation provides a preliminary measure. For
patent cases this preliminary measure is executed without any
assessment of infringement by Customs. After all, unlike many
counterfeit cases, patent infringement involves assessing the scope
of claims (often for complex technology) instead of a visual
comparison (as in trade mark or design cases). This article
explores the development of the Customs Regulation and its
application in daily practice in patent cases.
History of the Regulation
The European Council adopted Anti-Piracy Regulation 3295/94 in
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