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New Customs rules lead to seizures

By Sergio Rangel
Managing Intellectual Property, International Briefings, June 2008
Although the law used to enable Customs to enforce IP rights in Mexico, this year has seen a major advance in the fight against counterfeiters and pirates. In January and following intense work by federal enforcement authorities and IP owners, the brand new early alert anti-counter-feit system was initiated. The first alerts have so far led to 16 seizures of counterfeits.
As a result of this programme, Customs and the Mexican Patent and Trade Mark Office (IMPI) are sharing the database of registered trade marks in Mexico, including registration records. This means that, during the inspection of goods, Customs officers can report suspicious shipments to Customs Headquarters, which is in charge of contacting IP owners and their attorneys to verify the authenticity of the goods, opening a narrow room that allows them to decide if an administrative or criminal border measures actions is suitable.
The programme is in a pilot phase and faces many obstacles as the legal framework is still incomplete. Nevertheless with hard work Customs in enhancing the protection of IP rights nor for international as well as local owners.
Due to the limits in the law, Customs has not had time to retrain suspicious products as much as would be desirable. Therefore, IP owners should be in close contact with their enforcement attorneys to be able to act swiftly to stop counterfeits at the border.
This task is not so easy because it involves training sessions, budgets and even surrendering the authority to proceed to the local attorneys in specific cases. Despite this, these are good strategies that add value to your IP rights.
Are you ready to play with the new rules.?