Customs surveillance: labels and packaging

SurveillanceLabels and packaging recently became some of the most counterfeited items. In 2013, they accounted for more than one million of counterfeit goods seized by French customs authorities.

With customs services on the frontline in ensuring observance of intellectual property rights, it now seems vital for trademark holders to protect their rights at customs.

Customs will only act if the right holder previously filed a request for intervention with a view to withholding the suspected counterfeit goods at customs.

It is incumbent upon the person alleging that there has been infringement to show evidence to the customs authorities of the existence of an intellectual property right protected under French law.

As concerns trademarks, the registration certificate must be provided. The list of products for which the trademark is protected must also be specified.

Where counterfeiting of labels or packaging is concerned, the request for intervention to the customs authorities is be admissible only if the infringing mark is covered by Class 16 (stationery; adhesives; adhesive materials, plastic materials for packaging; printing blocks).

It is thus useful to protect trademarks under Class 16 in order to be able to initiate action against counterfeit labels and packaging at customs.