On 21 November 2019, the second phase (Phase 2) of enhanced IP border enforcement measures under the Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Act 2018 (IPBEA) came into effect upon the entry into force of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (the EUSFTA).
The IPBEA was enacted following the conclusion of the EUSFTA in 2014 by which Singapore agreed to enhance its border enforcement measures to deal with goods which infringe intellectual property rights. These border enforcement measures will be implemented in three phases. The first phase (“Phase 1”) of enhanced IP border enforcement measures under the IPBEA was implemented on 10 October 2018 and brought into effect provisions empowering the Singapore Customs to obtain and provide to intellectual property rights holders (IPR Holders) information in respect of seized goods necessary to institute an action for the infringement of copyright and registered trade marks.
Phase 2 of the IPBEA includes the following:
- IPR Holders may request the seizure of goods to be exported which they suspect infringe their copyright or registered trade marks. This is in addition to the existing procedures whereby IPR Holders may request the seizure of imported goods on the same grounds; and
- The standardization of IP border enforcement procedures across the Copyright Act (Cap. 63) and the Trade Marks Act (Cap. 332).
The third and final tranche of enhanced border protection measures (Phase 3) under the IPBEA is expected to come into force within 3 years of the entry into force of the EUSFTA (i.e. by 20 November 2022) and provide for the following:
- IPR Holders may request the seizure of imported goods or goods to be exported which they suspect infringe their registered designs. Owners of registered geographical indications may also request the seizure of infringing goods (whether imported or to be exported) under provisions of the Geographical Indications Act 2014 (No. 19 of 2014) which are set to commence in tandem with Phase 3;
- The Singapore Customs are empowered to obtain and provide to IPR Holders information in respect of seized goods necessary to institute an action for the infringement of registered geographical indications or registered designs; and
- The standardization of IP border enforcement procedures across the Geographical Indications Act 2014 (No. 19 of 2014) and the Registered Designs Act (Cap. 266).
A table summarizing the amendments in the IPBEA is set out for reference below:
* Note: the provisions relevant to the seizure / detention of infringing goods can be found in the Geographical Indications Act 2014 but will only commence at a date to be determined by the Minister in tandem with Phase 3.
By: Denise Mirandah and Yan ChongShuo
This article was first published in the Pharmaceutical Trade Marks Group (PTMG) Law Lore & Practice June 2020 Edition.