The FCS stands guard over intellectual property rights

On June 19-23, 2006, the all-Russia workshop was held in Irkutsk by the FCS of Russia on the matters of control of items of merchandize, entailing intellectual property objects. The workshop participants were represented by officers of seven Regional customs departments, members of the Prosecutor-General’s Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Service on Intellectual Property, Patents and Trade Marks, the “RusBrand” Community of manufacturers of branded trademarks and a number of companies-holders of well-known brands.

The workshop’s discussion agenda included main provisions of law, governing this sphere of activities, issues of departmental work coordination, law-enforcement and judicial practice, implemented in this field. The issue was discussed pertaining to interaction of customs authorities with possessors of rights,  case studies were organized on identification of infringing goods.

In his opening address, Andrei Koudriashov, Head of the Central Administration of Trade Nomenclature and Trade Restrictions of the FCS, gave notice to relevancy and importance of the task of protection of intellectual property rights both from legal and economic perspectives. To this effect, it is indispensable for the customs officers to find effective tools of identification of cases of piracy, to improve their procedural practices, continually to increase continually interaction with possessors of rights and with other law enforcement agencies.  Discussion of practical problems at similar workshops is essential both for exchange of experience of practicing customs officers and for elaboration of lines of activities of the FCS of Russia in whole, stressed A. Koudriashov.

After coming in to force and effect of the new Customs Code, containing a full-fledged article, dedicated to issues of intellectual property rights, the Russian customs officers, year by year, intensify their efforts to safeguard intellectual property rights. In comparison with 154 administrative cases, opened in 2004 in respect of violators of intellectual property rights versus 390 cases opened in 2005, this figure has amounted to 300 cases, initiated within 5 months of the current year. It is considerably facilitated by the customs Registry of intellectual property objects, which, at the present time, amounts to 676 trademarks.

An important matter for discussion at the workshop was the issue of proposals to be made concerning introduction of amendments into effective legislation.

In consideration of law enforcement practice of customs authorities, where court decisions on similar cases are notable for a considerable diversity, the FCS of Russia is constantly working at preparation of proposals on further streamlining of the procedure of case disposal by courts of law, governed by the Administrative Code and Arbitration Procedure Code. Thus, owing to efforts of the FCS of Russia and Ministry of Internal Affairs, at the beginning of 2006, amendments were introduced to Administrative Code, and the period of limitation was increased in respect of bringing to responsibility according to Article 7.12 and Article 14.10 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation, which is expected to enhance quality of preparation of pre-trial materials, result in uniform understanding of cases in point by courts of law.

In order to provide customs officers with more autonomy in their activities on bringing to responsibility of violators of intellectual property rights, the FCS of Russia intends to continue to promote the proposal on introduction of the regulation “ex officio”. This regulation enables customs officers to withhold turning out of goods, unregistered as objects of intellectual property without application of possessor of rights.