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HMRC internal manual

Customs Intellectual Property Rights Guidance

Goods suspected of infringing an IP right under customs control: Action to be taken

Before transit goods are formally detained the right holder may be given basic information such as the supposed nature of the goods, country of origin or despatch and the intended destination, no nominal data (names, addresses etc) may be supplied at this stage. The right holder should also be informed that the goods have been found in transit and whether there is any indication that the goods are likely to be placed on the market in either the UK or the EU as a whole.

Such indications may include:

  • the fact that the destination of the goods is not declared
  • lack of precise or reliable information as the identity or address of the manufacturer or consignor of the goods
  • a lack of cooperation on the part of the declarant
  • the discovery of documents or correspondence suggesting that the goods are liable to diversion to EU consumers

The goods should only be formally detained if the right holder confirms that they believe they have the ability to enforce the IP infringement through the appropriate Court and intend to exercise that right, although they are not bound to do so in the event that we formally detain the goods; for example they may wish to use the detention period to take legal advice.

Should the right holder inform the case officer that they are unwilling or unable to initiate proceedings the goods should be released as soon as possible, assuming all other customs formalities have been completed.