Customs administrations are in the frontline to enforce intellectual property rights at the EU borders. In order to effectively carry out their task, customs need the active engagement of the right-holders themselves. Co-operation is the most effective weapon: thanks to the information provided by the right-holders, customs may identify more easily goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (IPR) and take the necessary action.
As a right-holder, you can defend your rights by asking customs to detain goods suspected of infringing IPR.
In order to do so, you should lodge an application for action with the competent customs department requesting them to take action.
The application for action can be a national or Union application depending on the intellectual property right(s) on which it is based. A Union application for action when granted in one EU Member States has the same legal status in all other Member States, where action was requested for in that application.
As of 13 December 2021, right holders wishing to submit an AFA should connect to the IPEP Trader Portal for COPIS or to the national portal of the following Member States:
The national portal of the Member State (DE, ES, IT) is only for electronic submission of an application to be issued by the competent customs department of that Member State. It can be a national application or a Union application.
The IPEP trader portal for COPIS is a single electronic access point deployed at EU level for submitting an application (national or Union) to any of the 27 Member States’ competent customs department.
The holder of the decision should address any further communication, amendments or request for extension of the decision granting an application via the same portal as used for the initial application.
Where applications have been filed using the forms any further communication or request for extension of the decision granting an application should be sent using the IPEP Trader Portal for COPIS.
Right holders and their representatives need to hold a valid Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number) and the appropriate roles assigned to access the system (executive profile).
In order to obtain an EORI number, applicants and representatives need to contact the competent customs authority for EORI registration in the country where they are established. Persons not established in the customs territory of the Union should request the assignment of the EORI number to the customs authorities of the EU country responsible for the place where they first lodge a declaration or apply for a decision. See also the TAXUD EORI information website.
- For right holders trading with China, a specific User Guide exists
Submission of important and urgent information
In addition, two forms have been elaborated in close collaboration with industry. The aim is to provide a mechanism to notify the relevant customs administrations swiftly, in a clear structured way about specific information or general trends concerning suspected IPR infringing goods.
These forms should be sent to the relevant contact point
- "Red Alert" form, to be used to notify customs about urgent, specific information
- "New Trends" form to be used to notify customs about new trends
Alerts can also be sent via the EUIPO’s IP Enforcement Portal.
Further information about the use of the alert function in IPEP can also be found in a tutorial called “How to send alerts to enforcement authorities” on YouTube
Useful links and background information