July 26, 2023

Changes in the main trade and cargo routes to Russia and from it, innovations in the field of intellectual property, tracking the chains of movement of counterfeit products, trademark protection – that is right, we are talking about the customs sector and its innovations.

The changes both in the world and in the work of the customs authorities over the past couple of years are simply enormous. The geopolitical situation for Russia has changed rapidly, which implies the use of new approaches to work and stimulates the search for new solutions.

Visita Shidaev, Senior Intellectual Property Rights Specialist for Customs Regulation of the TKM team, shared his vision on changes in the work of customs due to sanctions, spoke about monitoring products and identifying counterfeit goods and, of course, mentioned the introduction of parallel imports and its impact on the work of customs authorities:


1. How, in your view, has the work of customs changed over the year?

In the period from the beginning of 2022 to the present, there have been significant changes in the format of the work of customs authorities in terms of protecting intellectual property rights. Before the introduction of parallel imports, the customs authorities were mainly guided by 289 of Federal Law and the Customs Code of the EAEU (Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union), but currently, customs authorities need to pay more attention to the list approved by Order of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation No. 1532 of April 19, 2022, which indicates groups of goods in respect of which the rights of right holders are not protected. However, despite significant changes, the quality of work of the customs authorities remains at the same high level as before.


2. How, in your opinion, did the introduction of parallel imports affect the customs sphere? Did this innovation complicate the work of the customs authorities?

Let's look at what parallel imports are all about: this is the importation of original goods into the country without the permission of the right holder. However, we are not talking about all goods, but only those that are under the protection of a trademark registered in Russia. As a result, if the manufacturer did not register a trademark in Russia, then permission was not needed before. Also, it should be noted that parallel import is not the import of fakes and / or counterfeit goods, but the import of the original products with all accompanying documents.

The introduction of parallel imports for the Russian Federation has become a necessary measure - a tool for managing economic sanctions, as well as protecting domestic business, the market and the country's economy as a whole.

As for the customs authorities, it would seem that the introduction of parallel imports should have facilitated and unloaded them, but, as the data provided in the statistics of customs authorities on the official website of the FCS, attempts to import counterfeit products under the guise of parallel imports have only intensified.

For example, from April to December 2022, the number of products seized by our importers or during customs control was, on average, 50% more than in the whole 2021 without any legislative innovations.


3. What should right holders do, how to protect intellectual property and track the import of fakes?

Here it is necessary to mention the customs register of objects of intellectual property of Russia (TROIS RF). As known, the inclusion of a trademark in the TROIS provides control by the customs service of the import of counterfeit goods and helps to stop it already at the border, before the goods enter the market.

I would also like to add that only some of the trademarks included in the TROIS of the Russian Federation fall into the list of parallel imports, since it contains exceptions for various groups of goods. For example, one group of goods (clothes/shoes) of one right holder may fall under the list of parallel imports, while another group of goods (cosmetics) of the same right holder may fall under the exception.

Thus, those trademarks that fall under the exception of parallel imports are still protected by the customs authorities, respectively, the rights of these right holders are defended.


4. What fakes, from your point of view, are most often brought to Russia?

Almost all types of products that we represent are imported into the country. This includes alcoholic beverages, clothing and footwear, cosmetic products, etc. The statistics of our work over the past few years shows the following trend: most often we encounter counterfeit alcohol (about 50%), then we devote an impressive part of the time to the categories of counterfeit cosmetics and perfumes (about 35%), fake accessories, clothing, shoes and other goods are less common, but still work on them is carried out as productively as on any other category of goods we protect.


5. How do customs officers detect counterfeit goods?

Basically, the protection of intellectual property objects by the customs authorities is carried out, guided by 289 of the Federal Law of the Russian Federation "On customs regulation in the Russian Federation and on amendments to certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation" and the Customs Code of the Russian Federation. In the articles that describe the procedure for detecting signs of counterfeit goods, one of the main countermeasures is immediate interaction with the right holder or his representative (for example, requesting information about the signs of counterfeit goods from the right holder / his representative).

It is also important to note that the FCS of Russia every year draws up a schedule of events (meetings, seminars, trainings, etc.) on the protection of intellectual property rights with the involvement of participants in foreign economic activity, right holders (their representatives) and officials of the customs administration for the current year.

Moreover, the FCS of Russia annually holds meetings for right holders and their representatives on the issues of suppressing counterfeit products.


6. How does customs department of TKM fight counterfeiting and protect their clients' brands?

We, in turn, following the schedule, hold seminars and webinars for customs authorities with training sessions on identifying signs of counterfeit products of right holders, who are represented and protected by TKM LLC.

In my opinion, such informative events have a very good effect on the quality of interaction between customs authorities and right holders, and are also a fairly effective measure to prevent attempts to import counterfeit products into the territory of the Russian Federation, thus ensuring the high quality of the result of joint work.

To ensure better protection of trademarks, we analyze them on the basis of parallel imports, offering right holders to include in the TROIS of Russia one or another trademark that is included in the parallel import exceptions. We include trademarks not only in the TROIS of Russia, but also in the TROIS of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, preventing the possibility of importing fake products into Russia through these countries of the Eurasian Union.

Moreover, TKM issues permits for the import and export of products, coordinating this with the right holders in order to stop the actions of unscrupulous organizations, carefully checking their documents (contracts, invoices, agreements).

If you have any questions or need assistance with any customs related matter, do not hesitate to contact us.

1 2
1 / 2
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.