Border Seizures

Border seizure proceedings are a good way of preventing the infringement of intellectual property rights at a very early stage, namely when the goods are imported into or exported from Germany or the European Union. Border seizure proceedings can be instigated without knowing the identity of the persons or companies involved. For this reason, they are a good way of enforcing IP rights even in the case of as yet unknown infringements.

A request for a border seizure can only be made for the purpose of enforcing one’s own rights, in particular trade mark rights, patent rights, and copyrights.

We have represented a number of well-known manufacturers in border seizure matters. One of our key services in this respect is the submission of the necessary requests for action to the intellectual property division of the German customs authorities. These requests list potential signs of falsification which help the customs authorities to identify counterfeit goods. It is essential that the customs authorities are given as much information as possible about the characterising features of the original goods and, where appropriate, about places of manufacture and channels of distribution.

Once a request for a border seizure has been submitted to the customs authorities, they will contact us as soon as there is any suspicion that certain products are infringing an IP right. These products will also be detained by the customs authority. Together with our clients we will then clarify whether their IP right has actually been infringed. If so, there is the possibility of submitting to the customs authorities, within a specified time limit, a request for the destruction of the infringing goods. Court proceedings against the infringing party in the form of a provisional injunction or a legal action may optionally be initiated in parallel.

Overall, border seizure proceedings are a useful complement to the other procedures for enforcing intellectual property rights (such as warning letters, infringement proceedings, and preliminary injunctions).

If you are interested in the option of using border seizure proceedings as an additional means of effectively enforcing your IP rights, we will be happy to advise and support you.