Pirated or counterfeit goods under EU attack
A deal with the Council of Ministers to give customs officials at EU borders better tools to confiscate, store and destroy goods that infringe intellectual property rights (IPR) has been endorsed by a leading European Parliament committee.
The Internal Market Committee noted that imports that infringe IPR are a growing problem in the EU due in particular to the rising volume of goods bought by EU citizens online and shipped to them by post from countries outside the Union.
Piracy and counterfeiting alone cost European businesses €250 billion in lost sales each year.
The new regulation on Customs enforcement of IPR aims to improve the effectiveness of customs controls so as to prevent illegal or dangerous products from entering the EU while setting down clear rules on detention and destruction procedures.
The new rules, which are to apply directly in all Member States from 1 January 2014, will allow customs officials to work faster and more effectively.
They include a simplified procedure to allow the destruction of goods without a court order, provided that the copyright holder agrees and the importer does not object.
A special procedure for small consignments of up to three kilos will also speed up the destruction of counterfeit goods. The new rules set a 10-day deadline for the importer to object before the good is destroyed.
In general IPR holders asking the customs authorities to enforce their rights would bear the costs of destroying the goods. However, the right holder could seek compensation from the infringer or other persons, including intermediaries such as carriers.
Non-commercial goods carried in a traveller's personal luggage are excluded from the new regulation's scope.