The new system works by brand owners ‘uploading’ to the database details of their trade marks and those goods the trade marks are applied to, all of which will be accessible by enforcement agencies searching for counterfeit goods. Uploads can include information such as pictures, packaging/product identifiers or details about prior counterfeit cases. The database is free to use, however, brand owners must have a registered trade mark within the EU to be able to do so.
The database integrates with both the customs and police internal networks and further any information uploaded to the database will be translated into the official languages of the EU and held centrally for use by customs/border officials across all EU member states. Where an IP owner so chooses, there are options to modify viewing rights attached to the Enforcement Database so that certain information is not available to specific enforcement agencies.
Furthermore, IP owners will be able to file Applications for Action electronically directly into the customs system.
Roy Crozier, joint head of the Intellectual Property Group at Clarke Willmott LLP states “It is hoped that IP infringement identification will be better coordinated and more readily picked up by the implementation of such features. Much of the success of the new system will undoubtedly depend on the numbers of IP owners that register, but it has the potential to be a valuable asset to both brand owners and enforcement authorities”.