Registration of Intellectual Property with Customs Department

  • Ascurio
  • Aug 25, 2023

Often IP Rights holders have priorities of registering their Intellectual Property in their Country of Origin, and Countries where monetization of their products is mapped and/or predicted. Generally, these IP Rights holders do not have adequate resources to apply for protections in all countries at the time when the Intellectual Property is created, leading to missing out on the statutory timeline to apply in these Countries, duplication of their Intellectual Property in unprotected countries and infiltration of these duplicate counterfeit products in the Country of Origin or the Country of Interest.

In India, IP Rights holder can protect their market from infiltration of duplicate and counterfeit products by various means; One by giving notice to the Commissioner of Customs or any Customs officer authorized on this behalf by the Commissioner, at the port of import of goods infringing the Intellectual Property Rights in accordance with the procedures and conditions set out in Intellectual Property Rights (Imported Goods) Enforcement Rules, 2007. Registering Intellectual Property with customs provides several benefits and protections, especially when preventing the infiltration of duplicate counterfeit products in the Indian market.

The Customs Act 1962 under Section 11 (1) read with Section 11(2)(n) empowers the Custom Officers to either absolutely or subject to such conditions (to be fulfilled before or after clearance) prohibit the importation and exportation of goods for the protection of Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Designs, and Geographical Indication. The Customs Act 1962 under Section 111 provides provision for the confiscation of improperly imported goods, and under Section 113 provides for the confiscation of goods attempted to be improperly exported.

For registering their Intellectual Property with the Customs Department, the primary concern that runs in the mind of IP Holders is ‘How can the Customs authorities assist in the protection of the Intellectual Property Rights of the IP Rights Holder?’. The IP Rights holder needs to understand that customs authorities perform a critical role in identifying and confiscating counterfeit products/goods at the borders and ports of entry. Registration of Intellectual Property with the Customs department highlights the authentic registered Intellectual Property, and segregates them from those Counterfeit duplicate products, thus increasing the likelihood of these Custom Authorities identifying and seizing the counterfeit products that infringe the registered IP Rights at the borders and ports of entry, which further prevents circulation of the counterfeit products in the Indian market and safeguard registered IP Rights holder’s brand reputation and commercials. Custom Authorities act as an enforcement agency at the international borders and ports of entry. They work in close collaboration with various Countries and have an international network to combat the Infringement of Intellectual Property. Registration with Customs Departments prevents exploitation of IP Rights in different jurisdictions and facilitates the Custom Authorities to timely detect, flag, inspect, and detain counterfeit products before they enter the Indian markets. Quick identification and timely action of the Customs Authorities ultimately benefit the IP Rights holders to take appropriate legal recourse with the help of Law Enforcement within the Limitation Period of each country. The records maintained by the Customs Authorities serve as Evidence in Court of Law.

Conclusion: Registration of your Intellectual Property with the Customs Department functions as a deterrent to potential Infringers and at the same time also educates the individuals and/or body corporate who are unsuspectingly importing or exporting counterfeit products. Every Country follows different processes for registering Intellectual Property with Custom Departments and it’s a good idea to consult with legal professionals who specialize in IP Law and International Trade to ensure that IP Rights holder navigates through the process correctly and takes full advantage of the benefits the system and law of the Country have to offers.


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