Amendments to HMRC Counterfeiting procedure and how they affect your business

The HMRC has announced with immediate effect that  the way the HMRC administers the intellectual property regime for counterfeit goods will be amended. The old system was more favourable to rights owners than was allowed under European law.  HMRC’s acceptance that the old system was not permissible has led to the change.  The legislation required to change the law is currently being drafted and should come into force shortly.

This affects your businesses directly as the change will significantly impact on how goods that infringe either a trade mark or copyright are dealt with by the HMRC.  The initial practice of seizing goods with a statement will no longer suffice for the HMRC.  The rights holder (which could be you) will now have to confirm the infringing nature of the goods by issuing legal proceedings.  The proceedings must be issued within ten working days but not later than twenty working days after you receive notification by the HMRC detailing the detention of infringing goods.

Time has therefore become of the essence.  Goods will only be seized by the HMRC if you  gain a successful judgment and the court directs that the items in question are seized.  Therefore we recommend to all ACID members to take advice immediately on receipt of notification from the HMRC so that appropriate steps can be taken to protect your position. 

For further information contact Nick Kounoupias at DMH Stallard LLP

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