Earlier this year, the Intellectual Property Office (formerly known as the Patent Office) launched a new service which allows applicants to request accelerated processing of their patent application if the invention relates to a 'green' or environmentally-friendly technology.
While this particular regulation is certainly not new, we felt that it would be worthwhile issuing a quick reminder. In today's uncertain market, it makes sense to be even more protective over your copyrights and patents.
Essentially, the Council Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003 allows the holder of a European Intellectual Property Right to notify HM Revenue & Customs if they believe that goods infringing that Right are being imported into, or exported out of, the EU.
If you wish to prohibit entry of infringing goods into only one country of the EU, a National application must be filed with the Customs Department of that member state. To prohibit entry to two or more member states it is possible to file a single European Community application.
In both cases, once submitted, the application is processed and if granted, is valid for up to 12 months. There is also the option to extend that time by filing a written request which could result in an additional 12 months.
The benefit of using this system is that the national customs authorities can be harnessed to police infringing activity. The potential disadvantage is that the liability for any costs that Customs may incur, for instance, in storage fees or cost of destroying infringing goods, is on the applicant ie, you! You would clearly therefore need to weigh up the benefit of taking such action from a cost point of view. While you're looking at these pro's and con's however, don't forget to take into account that any product that makes it into your market and infringes on your Rights may be of inferior quality and may end up adversely affecting your reputation.
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