Nearly 115 million pirated and counterfeit products were discovered by customs authorities in EU in 2011, some of which pose a risk to health and safety. One way to protect EU markets and consumers is to prevent such goods entering the EU and customs authorities are best placed to do that. On Tuesday 11 June MEPs voted in favour of new rules to help customs better enforce intellectual property rights.
The new regulation sets down clear rules on the destruction of illegal and dangerous products entering or transiting the EU, but does not change intellectual property protection rules and does not concern non-commercial goods carried by people travelling.
German Liberal Jürgen Creutzmann, who is responsible for steering the new rules through Parliament, said: "Customs officials are in a particularly good position to seize and destroy fake products before they are spread all over the EU. Thanks to this regulation, customs can do their job quicker and more effectively."
Destruction of counterfeit goods
A simplified procedure will lead to the destruction of counterfeit and pirated goods without a court order, provided that the copyright holder agrees and the importer does not object.
People caught receiving small quantities of counterfeit goods (less than two kilos) by post would be given 10 days to consent to their destruction without having to pay for storage and destruction.
Medicines in transit
As the EP report raised concerns that the legitimate trade in generic drugs between non-EU countries could be hampered, it was agreed that medicines may only be delayed or confiscated if there is substantial likelihood that they will end up on the EU market.