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Factsheet on Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Bill

Posted in Press releases

The Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Bill (“the Bill”) seeks to amend the Copyright Act (“CA”), Trade Marks Act (“TMA”), Registered Designs Act (“RDA”) and Geographical Indications Act (“GIA”) - collectively known as “the IP Acts” to:

 

      i.        implement Singapore’s obligations under the European Union – Singapore Free Trade Agreement (“EUSFTA”) to enhance border enforcement measures against goods infringing intellectual property rights (“IPR”);

 

    ii.        provide new powers for Singapore Customs (“Customs”) to obtain and provide information relating to the goods they seize; and

 

   iii.        standardise the terms and provisions relating to border enforcement across the IP Acts.

 

 

(I) Implement Enhanced Border Enforcement Measures under the EUSFTA

 

Background

 

  • Under the EUSFTA, Singapore is obliged to enhance border enforcement measures against goods infringing IPR. This will require amendments to the IP Acts.

 

  • Enhanced border enforcement measures for geographical indications have already been included in the new GIA, which was passed in April 2014 but has not been brought into force yet.

 

Proposed changes

 

  • The Bill will implement the following enhanced border enforcement measures in the remaining IP Acts, pursuant to our EUSFTA obligations:

 

        o   On IPR holders’ request, allow the seizure of suspected infringing goods that are to be exported under the                 CA and TMA, and

 

        o   On IPR holders’ request, allow the seizure of suspected infringing goods that are imported or to be exported               under the RDA.

 

  • Table 1 below shows a summary of the enhanced border enforcement measures marked as ‘New’.

 

Table 1: Enhanced border enforcement regime

 

Action

Scope of IPR

Copyright

Trade Mark

GI

Design

Ex officio for imports

Existing

Existing

Passed

Ex officio for exports

Existing

Existing

Passed

IPR holder for imports

Existing

Existing

Passed

New

IPR holder for exports

New

New

Passed

New

 

(II) New Powers for Customs to Obtain and Provide Information

 

Background

 

  • To effectively carry out its border enforcement duty, Customs requires powers to obtain and provide IPR holders with information that is necessary for instituting IPR infringement proceedings relating to seized IPR infringing goods.

 

Proposed changes

 

  • The Bill will introduce a new power for Customs to provide IPR holders with the names and contact details of any person connected with the import or export of the seized goods necessary for instituting IPR infringement proceedings. This will be a narrow exception to Customs’ obligations to keep the aforesaid information confidential.

 

  • As safeguards against anyone attempting to abuse the provision to “fish” for information on their competitors or otherwise, the information may be disclosed only after the following have taken place:

 

        o   Customs have seized the infringing goods, and

 

        o   IPR holders have provided Customs with a security deposit and supporting documents evidencing their IPR               ownership.

 

  • The Bill will also introduce a new power for Customs to request any information or document that may be relevant for border enforcement purposes.

 

 

(III) Standardise the terms and provisions relating to border enforcement

 

  • The Bill will standardise the terms and provisions relating to border enforcement across the IP Acts, so that the same procedures may be used for different IPR.

 

 

(IV) Implementation

 

  • The implementation of the various key changes will be staggered over 3 phases, in accordance with Singapore’s EUSFTA obligations and Customs’ operational needs as follows:

 

Implementation Timeline

Key Changes

Phase 1: Upon passing the Bill

  • New powers in the CA and TMA for Customs to obtain and provide information relating to the seized goods

Phase 2: Upon entry into force of EUSFTA

  • Enhanced border enforcement measures in the CA and TMA
  • Standardised terms and provisions relating to border enforcement in the CA and TMA

Phase 3: Within 3 years of the entry into force of EUSFTA[1]

  • Enhanced border enforcement measures in the RDA
  • New powers in the GIA and RDA for Customs to obtain and provide information relating to the seized goods
  • Standardised terms and provisions relating to border enforcement in the GIA and RDA

 

[1] The enhanced border enforcement measures in the GIA, which have been introduced in the new GIA and passed in April 2014, will also be implemented within 3 years of the entry into force of EUSFTA, in accordance with EUSFTA obligations.

 

 

 

Last updated on 17 May 2018