Norwegian Customs' three grounds for detaining goods in the event of infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR), and the procedure for obtaining assistance from the customs authorities.
Chapter 15 of the Customs Act governs the customs authority's detention of goods that constitute an infringement of intellectual property rights and similar violations of the Marketing Control Act. The customs authorities have three grounds for detaining goods we suspect may be IPR goods.
IPR goods can be detained on the basis of a preliminary court order (Section 15-4), decisions by the customs authorities (Section 15-4), or on the basis of the customs authorities' own actions (Section 15-5).
The customs authorities' grounds for detaining goods we suspect are IPR goods will depend on whether the rightsholder has pursued the option of obtaining a preliminary court order or assistance from the customs authorities.
In the absence of a preliminary court order or decision by the customs authorities, Norwegian Customs may, on its own initiative, detain goods which we suspect infringe an intellectual property right. In such cases, there is no obligation for Norwegian Customs to notify the rightsholder.
Detention on the basis of a decision on assistance from Norwegian Customs
The rightsholder may apply to the customs authorities for assistance with detaining goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights, or certain rights under the Marketing Control Act (Section 15-1).
Applications must be submitted electronically to Norwegian Customs. On the basis of such an application, the customs authorities will be able to make a decision on assistance for the detention of goods. You can find the application on Altinn's website.
Detention on the basis of a preliminary court order
The rightsholder can choose whether they wish to pursue the option of obtaining a preliminary court order (Section 15-3).
An application for a preliminary court order is sent to the court where your company has its place of business. The application must include name, address and telephone number, as well as a description of the case and background for a claim for a preliminary court order.
Intellectual property rights must be documented, and you must submit a statement of claim for what you believe the court's decision should be. For example, such a claim may be that Norwegian Customs, in connection with importing or exporting, must search for, identify and detain goods that violate your rights. The application must be submitted in four signed copies to the district court.
After a ruling has been issued, it is up to you as the rightsholder to reach an agreement with the importer on what will happen to the detained item. The district court will set a short deadline for this.
The option of applying to the customs authorities for assistance will exist in parallel with the option of obtaining a preliminary court order from the courts. It is important to note that if a preliminary court order is used, you will not be able to use the simplified procedures for destruction of goods.
Detention where there is no decision on assistance or preliminary court order
Where the rightsholder does not have a preliminary court order or a decision on assistance from the customs authorities, Norwegian Customs has, on its own initiative, the right to detain goods that are suspected of being IPR goods.
When the customs authorities detain goods on their own initiative, the rightsholder can be given the opportunity to apply for assistance after the goods have been detained by Norwegian Customs. In such cases, the rightsholder will receive a notification from the customs authorities about the right to apply for assistance (Section 15-5).