Is Custom Recordal of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) available in Laos?
Is Custom Recordal of IPRs compulsory in Laos?
Is it an effective measure to stop the infiltration of illegal and counterfeit products in Laos?
No; due to lack of a formal customs recordal system.
Which law forms the legal basis for Custom Recordal of IPRs (Border Control Measures) in Laos?
The IP Law and Instructions on Customs Measures for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights No. 1970/MOF (‘Customs Measures Instructions’) regulates the ‘customs information’ measures in Laos.
Is Custom Recordal of IPRs effective on import or export of goods or both?
Custom Recordal of IPRs is effective only the import of goods.
What is the role of the customs department/authority? (Kindly give 2-3 points)
The tariff officer and other competent officers at the Lao borders have the right and duty of inspecting the imported goods, and seizing and confiscating infringing goods. They can also give a simple ‘warning.’
Is there a procedure to record IP with the customs department/authority? If yes, then kindly explain it in brief.
The procedure is as follows and is based on knowledge gathered from precedents due to lack of procedural system:
An official letter can be submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)/Department of Intellectual Property Standardization and Metrology (DIPSM).
The PMO/ DIPSM will then examine the case and need for the cessation of the sanction.
The PMO/DIPSM will issue a formal notice to all line ministries, including the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Finance (customs), and the Ministry of Public Security (Economic Police) to monitor or cease the importation or trading of the products.
What documents are to be submitted along with the application for Custom Recordal of IPRs?
The documents should be in Lao language. The documents are as follows:
Official Letter from the IP Agent
Power of Attorney
Request from the proprietor to prevent such importation
Evidence and statistics of the importation of counterfeit goods
Deed of ownership/ Status of the applicant
Original product to help differentiate from the counterfeits
Is the applicant required to execute a bond (against all liabilities and to bear the costs towards destruction, demurrage, and detention charges incurred till the time of destruction or disposal) with the customs department/authority for Custom Recordal of IPRs?
What is the time frame for the customs department/authority to notify the applicants whether their application (for custom recordal of IPRs) is registered or rejected?
There is no fixed time frame. It is generally a very time-taking procedure.
Does the customs department/authority have a centralized system or the Custom Recordal is required to be done with each port of entry in Laos by land, sea, and air?
The customs authority has a centralized system. The applicant has to send it to the PMO and the same is then forwarded, after receiving the Official Notice, to all the ministries and units of customs.
Is there an online system for Custom Recordal in Laos?
No, a letter addressed to the PMO is to be sent.
What is the official fee for Custom Recordal in Laos?
What is the term of Custom Recordal of IPRs? Can it be further renewed?
Does the customs department/authority have a right to conduct raids and seize the counterfeit goods within Laos?
In which scenario does the customs department/authority suspend the clearance of imported goods?
The customs authority suspends the clearance of imported goods only if it receives confirmation from the IP rights holder within the stipulated time.
Who bears the liabilities and expenses related to suspension of the release of infringing goods?
The IP rights holder bears the liabilities and expenses related to suspension of the release of infringing goods.
Is the IP rights holder authorized to examine the goods, the clearance of which has been suspended?
Is the IP rights holder authorized to request the information about the personal details of the importer and additional crucial piece of information concerning the consignment, which has been suspended from clearance?
Can the importer or the authorized representative of the goods, which have been suspended from clearance, request the information of the IP rights holder in question?
Within what timeframe the IP rights holder needs to confirm whether the goods are counterfeit or original after suspension?
Within 10 days, rights owner must initiate the judicial action. Failure to do so will entitle the Customs to release the goods immediately thereafter.
Is the IP rights holder required to produce an injunction order or evidence of court proceedings to detain the goods?
If the answer to the above question is 'Yes,' then what is the deadline to do so?
Does the IP rights holder need to pay an additional bond for the detention of goods?
If the answer to the above question is 'Yes,' then to what extent and how is the valuation calculated?
It may depend on the circumstances of each case, but is usually around K10 million ($1,250).
In the scenario where the goods detained or seized are found to be infringing the IPRs of the IP rights holder in question, what steps does the customs department/authority take?
Does the customs authority invite the rights holder and importer to join the proceedings? Are there any consequences of failure to join such proceeding, if any?
Before disposal/destruction of infringing goods, does the rights holder need to submit a ‘no objection’ or concurrence document?
Are there any disadvantages of Custom Recordal of IPRs in Laos? If yes, then kindly give 2-3 points?
The disadvantages are as follows:
Requires cooperation of many sectors
Inexperienced IP Officers
If an IP rights holder is not satisfied with the action taken by the customs department/authority, can he/she initiate separate legal proceedings to enforce his/her IP rights?
There has been no such instance of appeal so far.
To establish if the goods are counterfeit before the court of justice, will the affidavit by the IP rights holder suffice or any other documentary requirement is there?5
Upon conclusion of proceedings before the Court of Justice, what are the possible remedies awarded by the court?
Is the rights holder under an obligation to inform customs authority when his Intellectual Property Right ceases to be valid/ he ceases to be the owner of such IPR?