Solutions when having merchandise seized by the China Customs

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Solutions when having merchandise seized by the China Customs

If you are a brand owner and just recently received the news that your merchandise has been seized by China Customs, what are the methods, or solutions you can do to protect your merchandise, and more importantly, your reputation?

China is the largest market in the entire world. Therefore, it’s no strange thing that businesses from all over the world want to enter this market and sells their merchandise here. 

However, entering China’s market is not as easy as it used to be. As acts of counterfeiting have risen dramatically in the world in general and in China, in particular, China has strengthened its measures to control the merchandise going in and out of the country.

When the merchandise of the brand owners is seized, it will likely be confiscated afterward. 

Seizure is the process of taking possession of the goods against the wish of the owner. 

Confiscation is a procedure in which the seized goods/merchandise are sold or disposed of by the order of the court.

The seizure comes before the confiscation of the goods. 

Solutions when having merchandise seized 

If we look at the matter in the view that the brand owner is an honest business who does no violation actions, but got misunderstood, then the cause and solution are as follows:

The cause of the seizure is likely because the merchandise with the mark of the company are similar to a registered trademark in China and the owner of such trademark registers their information to China Customs. 

The solutions are varied. 

In the short term, a non-determination decision is the brand owner’s best bet. In China, if China Customs have good reason to believe the seizure will become too complicated to handle in a short time, the agency can issue a non-determination decision requesting the two parties to go to court within 20 working days. 

If no court injunction order is received on the 21st working day after a non-determination decision has been made, China Customs will release the shipment and close the case file. The brand owners will receive back the merchandise and then it can continue its transportation route. 

For the long-term solution, brand owners should conduct every measure possible to register their IP assets in China and if there is an application with the same or similar elements, they should immediately file for opposition of that mark to protect their rights. 


Not just the brand owners but the authorized distributors of such goods in mainland China will also get in trouble because of the seizure. 

Therefore, to avoid trouble, brand owners should follow the 2 above solutions. 

Finally, on the other side, if brand owners want to protect their rights, work closely with China Customs and regularly update, and record your IP rights to the agency as China Customs have the obligation to stop any shipments bearing the recorded trademark without the recorded owner’s authorization. 

However, this might encounter problems if brand owners don’t work closely and regularly with the agency. Therefore, keeping a close connection with China Customs on both sides of the conflict is good practice and should be done more occasionally. 

 ***Other Articles***

– You could see How To Register Trademark in China here.

– You could visit here to see Procedure of Trademark in China.

– You could visit here to check Required documents of filing trademark in China.

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