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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 regulations.

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 anticipation...

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