On May 31, 2006, the working group of the Russian FCS and the Community of the proprietary “RusBrand” trademarks producers held a regular session, which was also attended by heads of subdivisions of the Russian FCS and the Central Customs Administration, members of the companies “British American Tobacco Russia”, “Phillip Morris”, “L’Oreal”, “Adidas”, “Nike”, “Procter and Gamble”, Schneider Electric” and others. The session took place in the premises of the customs post “Kashirsky” of the Moscow South Customhouse.
The Session was noted for a straightforward talk on problems, hindering effective protection of intellectual property rights, on judicial practice and tactics of countering production and distribution of infringing merchandize.
Opening the Session, Andrei Koudryashov, Head of Central Administration of Commodity Nomenclature and Trade Restrictions (HCANaTR) of the FCS of Russia, emphasized the improvement of measures, taken by customs authorities in respect of protection of intellectual property rights. In comparison with 154 administrative cases initiated by customs in 2004 against violators of rights of relevant trademark rights possessors, 390 cases in 2005 correspondingly, five months of the current year were indicative of 290 cases.
Organizing of systemic work of customs authority “on countering infringing merchandize” is considerably assisted by the Customs Registry of proprietary articles, which currently includes 675 trademarks. Increased coordination between the FCS of Russia and NP “RusBrand” plays a positive role as well. Generally, eight workshops were held not only to discuss problem issues, but to conduct practical training as well. Andrei Koudryashov informed the participants on the criteria being currently identified in respect of evaluation of efficiency of operations, carried out by customs authorities in the direction of protection of intellectual property rights based on final results (also characterizing the efficiency of all chain of actions: disclosure of infringing merchandize – quality of carrying out of investigation – preparation of materials – their production in courts).
This measure conforms to the requirement of the RF President, stipulated in the budget message “On the budget policy in 2007”, addressed to the Federal Assembly on May 30, 2006.: “It is necessary to work out the criteria of evaluation of efficiency of work personnel of customs and tax authorities, having in view not execution of the tax and customs duties collection plan, but the quality of fulfillment of their duties and obligations with a view to enforcement of tax and customs legislation”.
The participants of the Session were shown practical operation of the customs post “Kashirsky” on disclosing of infringing merchandize, declared in a goods customs entry (GCE). An inspector, by means of application of the AIST information system (execution and control of GCEs) in automatic mode, is capable to verify information on availability or unavailability of proprietary articles in the customs registry, and, consequently, to carry out physical comparison of merchandize to documents. Providing a trademark is unspecified in GCE while the merchandize is intended for retail distribution, the information system will respond by giving signal to a customs inspector to perform a more stringent check of submitted documents and, likely, inspection of the cargo. Software products and risk profiles, used by customs authorities, considerably reduce time of customs clearance of commodities and increase efficiency of disclosure of infringement of intellectual property rights.
Aleksei Popovitchiev, Coordinator of the Committee on intellectual property of the Community “RusBrand”, gave his thanks to the FCS of Russia for the pro-active stand it is taking in the struggle against infringing merchandize, and stressed that customs service proves to be the most reliable partner and a right-hand defender of possessors of trademarks, incorporated into the Community.
Aleksei Popovitchiev and Sergei Shourygin, Head of Department of HCANaTR of the FCS of Russia presented to the participants the main proposals on cooperation in the region of protection of intellectual property rights and on coordination between the FCS of Russia and NP “RusBrand”. It was resolved that right-holders shall:
- submit information about violations known to them, which will be used for creation of risk profiles;
- provide information about places of realization of infringing merchandize for the purpose of carrying out of spot-checks in the area of customs inspection and Central Administration on contraband control;
- render assistance in preparing of review of judicial practice, covering the period of 2005- 2006;
- participate in training of officers of customs authorities in identification of infringing merchandize (the nearest all-Russia workshop, organized for customs personnel with participation of Ministry of Home Affairs and public prosecution will be held in Irkutsk);
- prepare proposals of business on legislative development in the area of protection of intellectual property rights.