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BREXIT: Counterfeit protection

For customs authorities to carry out their tasks to enforce intellectual property rights (“IPR’s”) at the borders, they always need the engagement of IPR holders.

A right holder needs to help secure its exclusive rights by formally asking customs to detain goods that are suspected to infringe an IPR. This formal request is filed in the form of a yearly Application For Action (“AFA”) with the competent customs department by the IPR holder or its representative.

As of January 1st, 2021 European Customs Applications for Action (“EU AFA”) filed with the customs authorities in an EU member state will evidently remain valid in these member states, except for the United Kingdom. For customs authorities to detain or perform the intervention in the UK, a separate national AFA, a so-called UK AFA, is required. EU AFA’sfiled with the customs authorities of the UK will cease to have effect in the remaining 27 EU member states and will be modified into a UK AFA.

In addition, note that as of September 15th, 2020 all IPR holders who want to file for a new AFA with customs authorities must be in possession of an Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number (“EORI Number”). Businesses and people wishing to trade must use the EORI number as an identification number in all customs procedures when exchanging information with customs administrations. To obtain such a number, IPR holders need to contact the competent customs authority for EORI registration of their respective country of establishment.

As a consequence of the Brexit, EORI numbers issued in the UK will no longer be accepted by European customs authorities so that an additional EORI number has to be filed with the remaining EU member states.

You see that the impact of Brexit on cross-border selling is quite substantial. There are some reflections to be made and most definitely actions to be taken.

Note that GEVERS has a highly qualified and experienced team of people working with customs authorities throughout Europe on a daily basis to jointly fight counterfeited products for many clients. Our anti-counterfeit team is eager to assist you, your company and/or your clients with obtaining the necessary numbers and filing for AFA’s or any other actions which are necessary to safeguard intellectual property rights against counterfeiters.

For any inquiries contact us.

Tiffany Van Den Wijngaert

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