Getting Customs involved
A trade mark or copyright owner can request Customs to prevent infringing goods from being imported into Australia.
To obtain Customs' help you must lodge a notice of objection that sets out the nature of the IP rights being infringed and the goods in question.
This is a temporary provision designed to stop the unauthorised importation and distribution of goods. This measure allows you time to seek a court order to permanently prevent importation of these goods.
A Customs’ notification should only be exercised when you are reasonably confident that there has been an infringement. You should also be prepared to cover the costs of proceeding to court action.
Seizure of infringing goods
Once a notification has been lodged, Customs’ officers will seize any goods infringing either the copyright or the trade marks in question.
After the goods have been seized you have 10 working days to take action against the importer. Customs will detain the products during this time.
At the end of 10 working days the goods will be released to the importer unless you have initiated legal proceedings and have obtained an appropriate court order.
Customs is not obliged to take further action after this time. If you do not commence legal action within 10 working days you may find it difficult to enlist Customs’ assistance in the future.
Whatever action you do take, it is a good idea to pursue it vigorously to make sure the infringer knows you are serious about protecting your IP. Delays could also jeopardise your legal rights to obtain an injunction.