OHIM’s enforcement database: a new promising tool against counterfeiting
Published on: 13 December 2013 by Anna FALTER, Head of Trademarks Dennemeyer & Associates, Munich
The number of items infringing IP rights has steadily increased over the last few years. However, authorities often face the problem that they have to quickly determine the authenticity of a product, i.e. whether they have an original or fake product in their hands.
The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights has now launched its enforcement database in November 2013, which is able to connect IP rights holders more easily to enforcement professionals, such as customs officials or the police. This tool is built on the already existing official registers such as TM View and Design View and gains its enhanced functionality by being accessible to both customs and police internal secure networks.
The aim is to have a good working collaboration between authorities and IP right owners, in order to have an effective weapon against piracy and counterfeiting.
Since the authorities often do not possess the necessary information to recognize counterfeit goods, the new database will give a secure, central repository of information on products, with data provided by the IP holders themselves. This can include, for example, pictures of the protected products, details about contact persons for infringement cases, prior cases, packaging details or any other information that the owner believes is helpful for enforcement authorities to determine the authenticity of a product.
Furthermore, the tool will automatically generate a prefilled Application for Action (“AFA”) which includes all information to enable the customs officers to act on behalf of the IP rights holder directly at the border.
All the additional data compiled by the users is instantly accessible to the authorities across Europe to help them identify pirated or counterfeit goods. For this purpose, any recorded information will be translated into all the official languages of the European Union.
The only condition for using the enforcement database is a valid trademark registration within the European Union.
The use of the enforcement database is granted free of charge. The tool enables the IP right holders to contribute to the success of the database by adding all kinds of useful information with little effort.
As a matter of course, the more IP right owners participate, the more powerful this weapon against piracy and counterfeiting will become.
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