[Ip-health] News: Mondaq - Italy: Italian Customs Focuses On Patents
Marine at haieurope.org
Mon Nov 22 05:05:29 PST 2010
Simmons & Simmons
Italy: Italian Customs Focuses On Patents
15 November 2010
Article by Laura Orlando
Italian Customs has recently implemented a number of improvements that,
if properly exploited, may be helpful in rendering Customs surveillance
more effective, particularly in the enforcement of patent rights.
Statistics show that Customs officers are mainly involved with border
detentions of copies of famous brands (eg, in the fashion industry),
that are easy to recognise, whereas more hardly are put in the condition
to efficiently detect goods infringing patent rights, whose
identification requires adequate preparation and technical information.
Although the application submitted by rights holders to the Italian
Central Customs Agency is accompanied with all information required to
identify relevant goods, in practice said information may not always be
available to local officers at the Customs peripheral units who are
engaged in the daily controls of imported goods.
The Italian Central Customs Agency has implemented a state-of-the-art
multimedia database called FALSTAFF, which is integrated with the
Italian Customs IT system, AIDA, to store information on goods suspected
of infringing IP rights. This database is interactive and can be
directly updated by rights holders that have applied for Customs
measures (or their local counsels / representatives). The rights holder
generates a form in the database and inputs all technical information
and details to identify products suspected of infringement. FALSTAFF
should also allow Customs officers real-time screening of all import and
export declarations submitted.
These improvements are particularly relevant for monitoring programs
primarily focused on patent rights, where infringing goods cannot
immediately be identified visually (unlike most counterfeit branded
goods). In other words, save for cases of blatant counterfeits, in case
of suspect of infringement of patent rights Customs officers have no
choice but to halt batches and request a representative from the rights
holder to confirm whether the goods are infringing. The new FALSTAFF
system should allow officers to see a clearer history of an item's
shipping documentation (eg, bills of lading and packing list) submitted
by importers in order to pick out the categories of goods that must be
systematically halted and checked by the rights holder.
For monitoring programs focused on patents it is also crucial that
rights holders invest specific resources in order to provide adequate
technical knowledge to Customs officers, at least at targeted local
units like those located at major Italian harbours or other areas which
may be known for being most likely routes of infringement.
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