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Moldova: a transit country for counterfeit goods into the EU
Moldova has ratified most of International Conventions in the field of intellectual property, including the TRIPS Agreement, and its legislation is harmonized with the European Directives. Furthermore, after it signed the Association Agreement with the EU in 2014, the country has launched a number of law enforcement projects, notably in respect to intellectual property rights. One of the primary objectives of these projects is to ensure effective rights at the border.
Geographically located at the eastern border of the European Union, on the one hand, but also in the immediate neighborhood of the Black Sea port of Odessa, on the other hand, the Republic of Moldova is interested in trade of the counterfeit goods. According to statistical data, a great quantity of the counterfeit goods found in the EU have been transited through the Republic of Moldova; the variety of products is very extensive, including in particular clothing, cosmetics, perfumery, cigarettes, medicines, car parts and food products.
From a legal point of view, Moldova has at its disposal the necessary customs means to prevent access of counterfeit products into the EU market. The Customs Code’s provisions allow the intervention of customs officers either at the request of the right holder or ex officio. Moreover, with the transposition of EU Regulation 608/2013 into national legislation, the procedure is identical to that applied in the EU countries, including the destruction of goods shipped in small quantity. Thus the owners of intellectual property rights have adequate legal instruments to stop infringement of their rights in Moldova.
From the institutional point of view, there is an increase in the professional capacities of the customs officers. Through the educational partnership that our company has with the Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova, we have noticed that the customs authorities are willing to respect intellectual property rights at the border.
On the other hand, there is a need for more active involvement on the part of right holders. The statistics provided by the border authorities shows a decrease in the number of requests for intervention (down 39% when compared to 2015) and the total number of trade marks protected at the border declined in 2016 for the first time since the introduction of this protection system. At the same time, out of 32% of the cases related to detained counterfeit goods in 2016, the right holders did not react to the notification of the Moldovan customs authorities.
This data reveals a worrying situation that deserves to be further analyzed both by the responsible authorities of the Republic of Moldova and by rights holders. The active cooperation of right holders with the Moldovan customs officers would substantially reduce the volume of counterfeits on the EU market and by implication would favour the enforcement of intellectual property rights both in the EU and in Moldova.
This piece has ben specially prepared for the Class 46 weblog by MARQUES member Ion Tiganas, Attorney-at-law, PhD (Managing Partner, Tiganas & Partners IP Law Firm)Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 16.35
Tags: Moldova, counterfeits, customs,
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