Canadian Customs now allows recordal services for brand owners. Should your business use it?
At the start of this year, the Canadian Combating Counterfeit Products Act became law. With this new power, brand owners can register their trademarks and copyrights with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Basically you register with customs and when a package is inspected and the items match your intellectual property, customs will contact you to verify the package.
They can send a brand owner a sample of the package, and the details of the sender and receiver. This can also help companies that are wanting to have civil proceedings brought against counterfeiters in court.
There are no fees to register with customs. However if a brand owner wants the counterfeit goods to be destroyed, they may have to pay a fee. This part of the bill is still being developed and details are limited.
Before this bill became law, there was no legal authority for customs to seize a commercial shipment if they thought it was counterfeit.
New border regime:
The Bill will create a system to allow trademark and copyright owners to submit a “request for assistance” to the Canada Border Services Agency. Through this system, rights holders would request that border officers detain commercial shipments suspected of containing counterfeit goods, thus enabling the trademark owner to begin civil proceedings in court.
New civil causes of action:
The Bill will allow trademark owners to seek legal recourse before counterfeit trademark goods are sold in the marketplace. Specifically, rights holders will be able to seek civil remedies for the manufacture, distribution and possession with intent to sell counterfeit goods.
New criminal offences:
The Bill will ensure that selling, distributing, possessing, importing or exporting counterfeit goods for the purpose of trade will be prohibited and subject to fines and possible jail time. In addition, new criminal offences for possessing and exporting counterfeit goods for the purpose of trade will be added to the Copyright Act, which would allow the RCMP to seize counterfeit goods.
The US has had recordal services for a while now. This both can benefit a brand owner, and can hurt.
Since inspectors will not know if the package is real or fake until a investigation starts, this means that the real package will be delayed. This can hurt sales, especially if the package was meant to be a “just in time” shipment. If the shipment was to be sold for the holiday season and is delayed by a few weeks, it can ruin sales. You can read more about how this service can hurt a companies supply chain and sales here.