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Custom Recordal of IPRs in Rwanda


Custom Recordal of IPRs
Yes - where the release into free circulation was suspended on its own initiative, the customs authorities shall notify the rights owner and give him or her the opportunity to file an application for the suspension of release into free circulation within 03 days.
THE LAW N° 31/2009 OF 26/10/2009 ON THE PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY - forms the legal basis for Custom Recordal of IPRs (Border Control Measures) in Rwanda.
Custom Recordal of IPRs is effective both on the import and export of goods.
It is the role of the customs authority to inspect the goods of suspicious nature. Also, the customs authorities shall suspend the customs clearance procedures and release into free circulation of goods if there is sufficient prima facie evidence that the importation of counterfeit trademark goods is taking place, or infringing upon a protected rights owner, or is imminent.
The owner of an IPR, who has valid grounds for suspecting that the importation of goods infringes his or her rights or may do so in the future, can file an application with the competent tribunal requesting it to order the customs authority to suspend customs clearance of those goods.
If releasing into free circulation is suspended on a request, the applicant shall be required to provide the customs authorities with adequate evidences that a protected right has been infringed or that an infringement is imminent. The applicant is also required to supply a sufficiently detailed description of the goods to make them readily recognizable by the customs authorities.
Intimation of such nature shall be given within a period of 03 days.
The customs department has a centralized system.
There is no online system for recording intellectual property rights with the customs authority.
The customs authority suspends the clearance of imported or exported goods at the request of the IP rights holder or while acting in its own capacity if it finds that the goods being imported or exported may be constitutive of infringing material.
The liabilities and expenses related to the suspension of the release of infringing goods are done by the applicant.
The right holder has to confirm with respect to the authenticity or fabrication of the goods within a time span of 10 days.
Although the suspension remains in force for 30 days, the deadline to produce an order of injunction or an evidence of the court proceeding to detain the good accounts is 10 days.
The customs authorities shall suspend the release into free circulation after a security assurance of twenty per cent (20%) of the value under the customs clearance procedures of the alleged infringing goods has been provided by the applicant.
The security assurance is intended:
1. To cover the expenditures incurred by the suspension measures of release into free circulation by the customs authorities and other third persons;
2. To indemnify the importer where the goods in question are subsequently found not to be infringing; and
3. To prevent any abuse. Where a security assurance is not provided within 03 working days from the receipt of the notification, the goods shall be released into free circulation.
The customs authority informs the IP rights holder as well as the alleged infringer, the requisite action taken by the customs authority to suspend the release of such goods until a determination is made. It then calls upon the rights holder and the importer to examine the clearance of such goods, which have been suspended while removing samples, for example, testing and analysis to substantiate their respective claims. The customs authority may require the rights holder to provide any information that may assist in part of the customs.
Yes, the rights holder and the importer are requested to join the legal proceedings in the competent court of law to determine the fate of the suspicious goods. Where there is a failure to join such proceedings, the court may restrain itself from acting in furtherance of any border measures.
No, there are no disadvantages of customs recordal.
Yes, the aggrieved party may lodge an appeal against any decision or measure taken by the customs authority on or in connection with the suspension of release into free circulation of goods. The appeal shall be lodged before the competent tribunal within 05 working days from the notification of the decision.
Border measures, which may be ordered by the competent tribunals, are as follows:
1. The suspension of release into free circulation of the infringing goods;
2. The extension of the period of suspension of release into free circulation of such goods taken by the customs authority;
3. The disposal of such goods outside the Rwanda channels of commerce; and
4. The destruction of such goods.