Is Custom Recordal of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) available in Zimbabwe?
Is Custom Recordal of IPRs compulsory in Zimbabwe?
Is it an effective measure to stop the infiltration of illegal and counterfeit products in Zimbabwe?
Which law forms the legal basis for Custom Recordal of IPRs (Border Control Measures) in Zimbabwe?
The Trade Marks Act (Chapter 26:04) forms the legal basis for Custom Recordal of IPRs (Border Control Measures) in Zimbabwe.
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)
The customs receive the request of the registered proprietor of marks and act in accordance with the order of the Director of Customs and Excise to the effect of identifying and removing goods of infringing nature from the market.
Is there a procedure to record IP with the customs department/authority? If yes, then kindly explain it in brief.
The proprietor or registered user of a registered trademark who is a manufacturer, dealer, or trader in Zimbabwe may give a notice in writing to the Director of Customs and Excise.
What documents are to be submitted along with the application for Custom Recordal of IPRs?
The documents to be submitted are as follows:
A letter of intention of making such a request; and
The registration certificate or proof of ownership of such a title to prevent the third-party from using it.
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?
The Director of Customs and Excise may refuse to act in terms of a notice until the person giving the notice furnishes him with security - in such form and for such amount as the Director of Customs and Excise may require - to secure the fulfilment of any liability and the payment of any expense, which he may incur by reason of the detention by him of any goods to which the notice relates or as a result of anything done by him in relation to goods so detained.
Does the customs department/authority have a centralized system or the Custom Recordal is required to be done with each port of entry in Zimbabwe by land, sea, and air?
Yes, the system is centralized.
Is there an online system for Custom Recordal in Zimbabwe?
There is no online system; instead, a written formal request has to be made.
What is the official fee for Custom Recordal in Zimbabwe?
There is no official fee for Custom Recordal in Zimbabwe.
What is the term of Custom Recordal of IPRs? Can it be further renewed?
It may last up to any period not exceeding 05 years and shall not extend beyond the period for which the trademark is registered.
Does the customs department/authority have a right to conduct raids and seize the counterfeit goods within Zimbabwe?
In which scenario does the customs department/authority suspend the clearance of imported goods?
If the customs receive a request of surveillance and finds the goods that are allegedly infringing upon a rights holder’s legitimate rights, they may suspend such goods from clearance until their actual fate is determined after proper investigation.
Who bears the liabilities and expenses related to suspension of the release of infringing goods?
The applicant bears all the 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?
A security amount has to be paid corresponding to the nature and quantity of goods, which is determined itself by the Director of Customs.
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?
A customs officer may require the importer of the goods or his agent to produce any documents in his possession relating to the goods and to furnish the information as to the name and address of the person by whom the goods were consigned to Zimbabwe and the name and address of the person to whom the goods were sent in Zimbabwe. It also informs both the parties to continue investigation as per the rule of law by giving a chance to both the parties to be heard.
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?
Where either party disagrees to the nature of the goods, the court proceedings ought to be initiated. Failure to do so may lead to one part finding itself guilty by the order of the court.
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 Zimbabwe? If yes, then kindly give 2-3 points?
There is a vague framework provided within the trademarks Act; however, the fact remains that it is barely utilized to identify and eliminate infringing goods from the market.
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 other requirements. Not producing such evidentiary requirements may result in being found guilty for 14 days.
Upon conclusion of proceedings before the Court of Justice, what are the possible remedies awarded by the court?
The possible remedies awarded by the court include the following:
Removal of improper marks from the goods;
Making additions to render the mark unobjectionable to the goods;
Destruction of goods; and
Forfeiture of goods by the state.
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?