|The IPKat on the look-out |
for counterfeit products
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
OHIM may be struggling with its new website but it does not stop working for its users until Holidays officially kick off . The European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy will launch in April 14 a new enforcement database to help in the fight against counterfeit goods.
Since June 2013 companies with IPR can register, give information about their products, channels of distribution and sale in the database and select EU customs which can have access to it. This Kat has learned from fellow colleague at OHIM that in case of pan-European enforcement actions, the coordination will be faster and will be expanded to law enforcement agencies via EUROPOL.
Further, one of the added advantages is that companies can feel safe because all the information uploaded on the database is very confidential- the information can be updated and the users decide which custom can see it. OHIM has only access to statistics - how many companies, how many actions but no names, no precise information will be made public (to avoid helping counterfeiters "improve" their methods of counterfeit).
As mentioned on the webpage, the many other advantages include:
· The tool guides the right holders in the process of filing an application for action and overcome some of the translation issues that they currently have;
· The tool is connected with several IP databases (TMView, geographical indications, DesignView...) where updated information about the validity of the different rights can be found;
· The tool provides the user with an alert module to send alerts on possible counterfeit consignments.
According to the European IPR Helpdesk, this tool will therefore facilitate the exchange of information among the European and national authorities and will allow right holders to take a more active role in the defence of their rights. According to OHIM, this tool will be particularly useful to EU SMEs, “who have few resources to identify counterfeits and alert authorities in a timely and effective manner”.
This Kat, dealing with local customs and law enforcement agencies on weekly basis to follow up on seizures of some of her favourite consumer goods, believes this will help facilitate administrative procedures and communications rendered difficult due to language barrier [sometimes speaking Italian is not sufficient and Napolitan dialect is hard to master]. Agencies and professionals should be advised of this new tool and promote it to clients as a future IP enforcement plan – hopefully it will be a positive improvement and enforcement of the new European Customs Regulation.