Protecting your intellectual property abroad

Applications for customs intervention on IPR infringements


Your application to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for action on intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements will be considered as soon as possible, and you will be advised within 30 working days whether it has been accepted. You may be asked to provide financial security for future action.

If your application is accepted, this will be confirmed in writing. HMRC will then use the information in your application to target trader declarations and check consignments suspected of containing infringing goods for the period requested.

If your application is rejected, HMRC will explain why and give you the opportunity to ask for the decision to be reconsidered.

Sometimes, goods that are believed to infringe IPR are detained without an application having been made. The right-holder is then invited to make an application within three working days.

If you made a European Union (EU) intellectual property right application, HMRC will give you a written decision that should be forwarded to the customs authorities in the relevant EU member states. You may have to arrange for translation. If you make a successful intellectual property right application in another member state, you will receive an acknowledgment once the application is received by HMRC.

HMRC do not have the power to seize infringing goods, but they can be detained for up to ten working days to allow the right-holder to reach an agreement with the importer to abandon the goods or initiate proceedings in the appropriate court. This period can be extended by a maximum of ten working days in appropriate cases. Perishable goods can be detained for up to three working days only with no possibility of an extension.
In addition to the action HMRC will take, you may be able to get extra help from authorities overseas.