Singapore Implements Advanced IP Border Enforcement Measures

Singapore Implements Advanced IP Border Enforcement Measures

Singapore Implements Advanced IP Border Enforcement Measures

The 21st of November 2022 will see the implementation of strengthened border enforcement procedures pertaining to specific intellectual property rights, according to the Ministry of Law. These measures, which are applicable to products that violate registered designs and geographical indications protected by intellectual property rights (IPR), provide Singapore Customs with the following authority:

  • Upon request by the IPR holder, seize goods suspected of infringing the IPR that are to be imported or exported; and
  • Obtain and provide information relating to the seized goods.

The new measures are the third and final phase of the Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Act 2018, which was enacted to implement a phased approach to fulfilling Singapore’s border enforcement obligations under the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (“EUSFTA”).

This article provides an overview of the most important elements of the upcoming border enforcement measures.

The IPBE Act amends Singapore’s intellectual property regulatory regime in order to strengthen border enforcement. It was enacted in 2018 and has been implemented in three phases:

  • Phase 1 – Amendments to the Copyright Act 2021 (“Copyright Act“) and Trade Marks Act 1998 (“Trade Marks Act“) came into effect on 10 October 2018, empowering Customs to obtain and provide information relating to seized goods.
  • Phase 2 – Enhanced border enforcement measures relating to the Copyright Act and Trade Marks Act came into operation on 21 November 2019.
  • Phase 3 – Enhanced border enforcement measures relating to the Geographical Indications Act 2014 (“GIA“) and the Registered Designs Act 2000 (“RDA“) will come into operation on 21 November 2022.

Upon request from the relevant IPR holder, Customs may seize goods under the Phase 3 Measures that are believed to violate geographical indications or registered design rights.

Advanced border enforcement measures

  • Request for seizure – The owner of an IPR may send a formal request for the seizure of infringing products to the Director-General of Customs, noting that the goods are expected to be imported or exported. The required information regarding the goods, the required supporting documents proving IPR ownership, and the required fee must all be included in the notice. Additionally, the requestor might need to offer security to prevent such seizures.
  • Seizure of goods – Upon direction by the Director-General, the goods will be seized and taken to a secure place.
  • Notice of seizure – The Director-General will inform the importer/exporter and the requestor in writing that the goods have been seized and will be released to them unless the requestor files an infringement action within the specified time limit (10 days after the date specified in the notice). The Director-General may grant a request to extend this time frame if he or she believes it to be fair.
  • Information gathering – If authorized Customs agents have grounds to assume that a person has any pertinent information or documentation, they may ask that individual to present it. Failure to comply is a violation that carries a maximum fine of $6,000 and/or a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
  • Providing information – The Director-General may provide information to the requestor necessary for instituting an infringement action, including the name and contact details of any person connected with the import/export of the seized goods.
  • Inspection of seized goods – If the importer/exporter or the requestor provides the necessary assurances, the Director-General may allow the requestor or the importer/exporter to inspect the seized goods and may permit the removal of a sample of the seized goods from its custody for such inspection.
  • Forfeiture of seized goods – The importer/exporter may consent to the forfeiture of the seized goods to the Government. Notice of such consent must be given before an infringement action is instituted.
  • Release of seized goods – The seized goods will be released to the importer/exporter if:
    • The requestor has not instituted an infringement action and notified the DirectorGeneral within the prescribed period;
    • After 22 days from the day the action was filed, an infringement action has been brought, but the court has not yet issued an order prohibiting the release of the goods; or
    • The requestor consents to such release.

The upcoming stronger border enforcement measures will go into effect on November 21, 2022. IPR owners should be informed of these actions and the obligations and processes pertaining to the seizure of goods suspected of violating registered design rights and geographical indication rights, as well as importers and exporters.

*** Other Articles***

– You could visit here to see Procedure of Singapore Trademark Registration.

– You could visit here to check the required documents for filing trademark in Singapore

– You can also check the Fee of Trademark In Singapore here.

–  You could check how to register trademark in Singapore here.

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