Is Custom Recordal of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) available in Uganda?
Is Custom Recordal of IPRs compulsory in Uganda?
Is it an effective measure to stop the infiltration of illegal and counterfeit products in Uganda?
Which law forms the legal basis for Custom Recordal of IPRs (Border Control Measures) in Uganda?
The laws are as follows:
The Trademarks Act, 2010
The Penal Code
Is Custom Recordal of IPRs effective on import or export of goods or both?
The procedure laid in the trademarks act and the penal code applies on both the export and import of goods.
What is the role of the customs department/authority? (Kindly give 2-3 points)
Where an application has been made in furtherance of the provisions mentioned under the trademarks act or/and the penal code, it is the duty of the customs to inspect and withhold any allegedly infringing goods. It is also within their powers to enter any premises, shift, aircraft or vehicle for the purpose of whether or not there are any counterfeit goods therein.
Is there a procedure to record IP with the customs department/authority? If yes, then kindly explain it in brief.
There is no formal procedure for recording one’s rights with the customs. However, a request may be made to the competent authority or court for affecting the seizure by customs of goods, which are of infringing nature.
What documents are to be submitted along with the application for Custom Recordal of IPRs?
The applicant has to submit the proof of registration of one’s intellectual property rights, including other details leading to the suspicion that the goods of the importer/exporter are illicit or unauthorized.
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 time limit prescribed as per which the customs authority has to notify the applicant whether his or her application has been approved or disapproved. The same has to be intimated as soon as possible.
Does the customs department/authority have a centralized system or the Custom Recordal is required to be done with each port of entry in Uganda by land, sea, and air?
The customs authority has a centralized system.
Is there an online system for Custom Recordal in Uganda?
There is no online system for custom recordal in Uganda; instead, a written application has to be made with the court or the appropriate authority.
What is the official fee for Custom Recordal in Uganda?
There is no formal fee for custom recordal.
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 Uganda?
In which scenario does the customs department/authority suspend the clearance of imported goods?
Upon finding that the goods may be of infringing nature, the customs department/authority may suspend the clearance of imported goods.
Who bears the liabilities and expenses related to suspension of the release of infringing goods?
It is the applicant who bears the liabilities and expenses related to the suspension of the release of infringing goods, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
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?
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?
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?
The customs authority informs the counterparts, the alleged infringer and the IP rights holder. The proprietor of the intellectual property right has to then bring forth the order of the court to continue further detention until a final order concerning the goods and liability is made.
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?
Yes, the rights holder and the importer have to be represented before the court to determine the authenticity of the goods. Upon the rights holder’s failure to do so, the proceeding is deemed terminated, and therefore, no further action by the customs can be taken, including the detention of the goods.
Before disposal/destruction of infringing goods, does the rights holder need to submit a ‘no objection’ or concurrence document?
Before the disposal or destruction of the infringing goods, the court order has to be submitted.
Are there any disadvantages of Custom Recordal of IPRs in Uganda? If yes, then kindly give 2-3 points?
For such goods to remain detained and subsequently destroyed, a court order is necessary, which can be an extremely onerous and expensive process, making it in many instances impractical as a tool to deal with counterfeits.
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?
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?
The court may require the submission of a few other documents depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Upon conclusion of proceedings before the Court of Justice, what are the possible remedies awarded by the court?
Any person with an intention to defraud or to enable another to defraud any person, forges or counterfeits a trademark, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding 02 years or both.
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?