Is Custom Recordal of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) available in Tanzania?
Is Custom Recordal of IPRs compulsory in Tanzania?
Is it an effective measure to stop the infiltration of illegal and counterfeit products in Tanzania?
Which law forms the legal basis for Custom Recordal of IPRs (Border Control Measures) in Tanzania?
The Merchandise Marks Act of 1963 (operationalisedonly since in 2005) specifically prohibits the importation of counterfeits. The Fair Competition Commission (FCC), housed under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, is charged with protecting the intellectual property rights in Tanzania.
Is Custom Recordal of IPRs effective on import or export of goods or both?
Custom Recordal of IPRs is effective only on the import of goods.
What is the role of the customs department/authority? (Kindly give 2-3 points)
It is the role of the customs department to act in furtherance of the request made by the complainant and intercept any pirated or counterfeit imports. It is also the role of the customs to conduct consultation with both the parties to derive a mutually acceptable solution. Failure to do so shall result in transferring the keys to the public prosecutor.
During this time, it is the role of the customs to withhold and detain the goods until a final determination of their true nature is made.
Is there a procedure to record IP with the customs department/authority? If yes, then kindly explain it in brief.
Since the fair competition commission, i.e., the FCC is responsible for protecting the intellectual property rights, the complainant company that maybe the owner of the brand or its legal representative may send a letter requesting the FCC to take action in furtherance of such a request to intercept pirated goods in contravention with the intellectual property laws.
What documents are to be submitted along with the application for Custom Recordal of IPRs?
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?
Does the customs department/authority have a centralized system or the Custom Recordal is required to be done with each port of entry in Tanzania by land, sea, and air?
The customs authority has a centralized system, which does not require an application to be made at each port of entry in the country.
Is there an online system for Custom Recordal in Tanzania?
No, the system for recording intellectual property rights is offline.
What is the official fee for Custom Recordal in Tanzania?
The fee is inclusive of investigational charges as well, which are estimated at Tanzanian shillings TZS 3 million, which is about $1500.
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 Tanzania?
In which scenario does the customs department/authority suspend the clearance of imported goods?
The customs authority suspends the clearance of imported goods after finding that the goods being alleged of infringement may be in contravention with the economical and moral rights of the intellectual property rights holder. Thereby, the goods may be suspended until either the offender makes a confession and pays the fine or a final determination by the court is made.
Who bears the liabilities and expenses related to suspension of the release of infringing goods?
The infringer/offender 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?
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?
If the goods detained or seized are found to be infringing the intellectual property rights of the rights holder, the FCC conducts a consultation procedure wherein the suspected offender can choose to sign a confession and pay a fine, which ranges from TZS 200,000 to TZS 8 million, depending on the value of the confiscated goods which are also to be destroyed. Where such a consultation does not bear fruitful results, the case is forwarded to the Director of public prosecution for eventual submission to the court of law.
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, if the importer who has committed an offence of counterfeiting the alleged goods disagrees to make a written confession and pays a fine as has also been mentioned above, in such an instance the case is forwarded to the public prosecutor for an eventual submission to the court of law. Failure of either of the parties to join such proceedings may lead to contempt of the court’s orders.
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 Tanzania? If yes, then kindly give 2-3 points?
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?
For establishing whether or not the goods are counterfeit before the court of Justice, the court may require the applicant to substantiate the claim through admission of other documents.
Upon conclusion of proceedings before the Court of Justice, what are the possible remedies awarded by the court?
If the offender is found guilty and convicted, he may end up being sentenced to jail for period ranging from 04 to 15 years or imposed a fine of between TZS 10-50 million ($5,000 - $25,000), or both the jail term and a fine.
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?