With successful border seizure applications, the import and export of goods infringing intellectual property rights can be prevented at the external borders of the EU or Germany. Border seizure applications are therefore a useful means of effectively enforcing industrial property rights, particularly in cases of infringement not yet identified. Furthermore, applications may be made in addition to bringing infringement proceedings before the courts. This brochure provides an initial overview of requirements and possibilities regarding border seizure applications.
Border seizures allow intellectual property right holders to prevent the import, export and sale of counterfeit goods in the European Union and Germany, without having to know the counterfeiters’ identity or whether the counterfeit goods are actually being sold.
At the same time, border seizures can also be an effective means of enforcing property rights against infringing parties known to the right holder, partly because the goods may be detained relatively easily at the external borders, and partly because successful seizure of the goods and imminent destruction may put the property right holder in a good position for Settlement proceedings with the infringing party. The number of seizures by German customs officers is very high. Between 2015 and 2017, there was an average of over twenty-two thousand seizures, with over three million goods having a value of nearly 200 million euros being seized in 2017. The majority of goods were seized due to trademark infringements, followed by design infringements, which have been constantly increasing. The main source of the goods is the Far East. The seizures are the result of close collaboration between the customs authorities and around nine hundred intellectual property right holders.