Scacchic strategy

To some, enforcing those hard-earned intellectual property rights can seem like a game of chess.  And, like the ancient board game, a co-ordinated strategy is required to address effectively the incessant antagonist.  The financial return on sales of counterfeit goods is reported to be several orders of magnitude greater than for narcotics yet the penalties are much less severe.  The unfortunate consequence is that we are unlikely to witness checkmate any time soon.  The rise of anonymous online commerce and the comparative advantage to manufacturing on the other side of the world mean more counterfeit goods than ever are being imported.  Hence, the concomitant relationship between brand owners and infringers invariably also requires the intervention of customs authorities.

Fortunately, we have the second edition of Olivier Vrins' and Marius Schneider's book, Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights through Border Measures to provide a guiding light. 

Described by publisher Oxford University Press as:

Providing a practical analysis of anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy measures at the borders of the European Union, this book deals with all aspects of border measures under Regulation (EC) 1383/2003. It includes a thorough description of the implementation of the regime and also looks at areas of national law, giving a coherent and comprehensive overview of the application of the border measures regime within the European Union.

New material includes a new stakeholder mapping section explaining the respective roles of the many international organisations that are active in the enforcement of intellectual property rights such as WIPO, WCO, WHO, OLAF, EUROPOL, and INTERPOL as well as a new chapter on organized crime in light of its increasing occurrence within counterfeiting networks.

This second edition also considers the UK HMRC's fundamental changes to its detention and seizure procedures in respect of goods infringing trade mark and copyright.

Are you sure Regulation 1383/2003 lets you do that?

The book is broadly divided into three parts.  The first conducts a detailed examination of the first principles of intellectual property law, economics and social stability not just in the European Union but in the international context within which the internal market operates, including some analysis of the operations of the organised criminal underworld. 

This sets the scene very well for the second part which explores in detail the legal architecture adopted to try and restrain the trade in illicit goods, in particular the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Customs Regulation 1383/2003. 

Where the book is likely to be most useful however, is in the third and most substantial part.  Running to 800 pages, this section covers in detail the customs practices of each of the member states of the EU.  The answers are clear and because the same questions have been asked of each authority, adopt a structured and uniform approach.

Since the first edition of the book in 2006, there have been several key decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union which affect how infringement and anti-counterfeiting matters are dealt with in everyday practice, for example in relation to goods in transit (see IPKat post here), sanctions against traffickers when a case has been settled under the simplified procedure, Community applications for action, and the ECJ's Advocate-General's opinion on the use of information provided to an intellectual property rights-holder during a border seizure of goods.  The authors have therefore included reference to these along with updates on the practices of the newest member states Bulgaria and Romania.  Rather conspicuously however, there is no section for Croatia which will join the EU on 1 July 2013 and is geographically advantageous for counterfeit goods passing from the Balkans into southern Europe.

Overall therefore, the book provides an accessible and comprehensive guide to enforcement with customs authorities which will appeal to practitioners and in-house counsel as well as academics and students.

Bibliographic data: cxx + 1124 pages. ISBN 9780199692934.  Hardback.  Price £225  Web page here.
Scacchic strategy Scacchic strategy Reviewed by Robert Cumming on Friday, August 17, 2012 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. "Hence, the concomitant relationship between brand owners and infringers invariably also requires the intervention of customs authorities."

    I wonder if the book discusses the situation where infringers and brand owners are one and the same?

    IP compliant and IP non-compliant are two parallel markets: do you think that brand owners would pass up the chance to access both markets?


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