Customs protection of intellectual property refers to the protection implemented by the customs on the exclusive rights to use the registered trademarks, copyrights, and patents when examining the imported and exported goods according to the laws and administrative regulations of the People’s Republic of China.
As the management authority for import and export goods, the customs can promptly seize batches of goods when suspicious goods are discovered and notify the right holder for confirmation. Due to the advantages of timeliness and effectiveness of customs intellectual property protection procedures, this measure has attracted more and more attention in recent years. However, there are also a group of companies, especially foreign companies, who have limited understanding of China's customs protection of intellectual property rights.
Here we will introduce the methods of customs protection of intellectual property rights, the significance and procedures of customs registration of intellectual property rights, and the responses of rights holders. Let’s start!
The intellectual property right holder achieves the purpose of intellectual property protection by requesting the customs to detain the suspected infringing goods. There are two main enforcement methods for customs to detain goods suspected of infringing rights.
Upon application: The intellectual property right owner discovers that the suspected infringing goods are about to be imported or exported, and applies to the customs at the place where the goods may enter and exit to detain the suspected infringing goods and provide a guarantee. If the regulations are met, the customs shall detain the suspected infringing goods (Articles 12 to 15 of the "Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Customs Protection of Intellectual Property Rights".
Ex officio: The customs finds that import and export goods are suspected of violating registered intellectual property rights, and notifies the intellectual property right holder in writing. The intellectual property right holder shall notify the customs within 3 working days from the date of delivery of the notice whether to apply to detain the suspected infringing goods. If the intellectual property right owner applies to detain suspected infringing goods within the specified time and provides a guarantee, the customs shall detain the suspected infringing goods.
Since the ‘on application’ method requires the intellectual property right holder to conduct a large number of investigations in advance to be able to grasp the import and export information of the suspected infringing goods. It is relatively rare to apply for the detention of suspected infringing goods. However, after the intellectual property rights holders have registered their intellectual property rights at the customs, the customs have the obligation to protect the registered intellectual property rights. Therefore, in practice, the “ex officio” law enforcement model is relatively common.
The filing of your intellectual property such as trademarks brings you significant advantages:
The General Administration of Customs will inform the applicant 1 to 2 months within the receiving date of all application materials.
The protection of intellectual property will take effect from the date the General Administration of Customs approves the filing and will be valid for 10 years. If the intellectual property rights are less than 10 years, the protection period will be determined by the expiry date of the intellectual property. If the filing is not renewed or the intellectual property rights are no longer protected by the customs.
Once recorded, each time a commodity with the trademark is cleared, the trademark owner will receive a written notice from local customs confirming the authenticity of the commodity. In the situation that the trademark owner confirms that the commodity is fraudulent and not authorised by the trademark owner, customs will seize the goods immediately.
Step 1: Submit materials to the General Administration of Customs for acceptance.
Step 2: Upon acceptance, the General Administration of Customs will begin to examine the materials.
Step 3: Once examined, the trademark filing process has successfully been completed.
The whole process of recording your trademark with Chinese Customs will take 2-3 months.
Click the button below to arrange a free consultation to talk through the steps you can take to protect your intellectual property in China.
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Sound United is the leading designer and manufacturer of consumer audio products in the US. Sound United has been using Hongda since 2013. Moving one’s operation to China is not a small task, But Hongda’s expert services helped us set up a company and deal with tax issues so we could get on with growing our business in no time at all, and that’s why we continue to use them today.
No. According to Announcement No. 51 of 2015 of the General Administration of Customs, if you request intellectual property protection filing by online application from November 1, 2015, the General Administration of Customs will suspend the filing of charges.
Yes. The intellectual property right holder shall submit a separate application for each intellectual property right to be registered and filed with the customs.
If the filing status changes, you should report to the customs for change or cancellation to avoid any commercial loses. If the intellectual property registration situation changes, the intellectual property right holder shall go through the registration change or cancellation procedures with the General Administration of Customs within 30 working days from the date of change.
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