November 20, 2017 10:40

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Customs “block” exported goods faking up origin

09:19 | 12/11/2017

VCN – Not only stopping imported goods faking up origin from Vietnam, Customs authorities also prevent many exported shipment infringing intellectual property right (IPR), counterfeit origin.

customs block exported goods faking up origin
Imported milk infringed intellectual property right was discovered by Customs authority at Cat Lai port at the end of 2016. Photo: Thu Hòa

Nearly 4 tons of violated cake

After almost 2 years, HCM City Customs discovered nearly 4 tons of exported Choco Pie cake showing signs of trademark infringement of Orion ChocoPie (belong to Orion Corporation, Korea), on 31/10, Mr.Tran Vinh Tuyen - Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee has instructed units to report, propose solutions to the leadership of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City for strictly handling this case.

According to Customs News finding, in 1/2016, Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch in cooperation with the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department (General Department of Vietnam Customs) to conduct a physical inspection for shipment of PHAM NGUYEN CONFECTIONERY Company. The competent forces detected a sign of infringing intellectual property for “Choco Pie” trademark. Therefore, Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch issued a decision to suspend clearance for this shipment.

Mr. Le Thanh Hai, Deputy Manager of Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch said that the export shipment was including 1,200 boxes of ChocoPie cake weighing 3,825.6kg, valued at $US 8,624.1. It was opened customs declaration by Phuc Nguyen Confectionery Company. When detecting this brand is already registered for protection to Customs authority, Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch stopped clearance for this shipment and coordinated with IPR Protection Enforcement Unit (Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department) in order to conduct a physical inspection. The result of Vietnam Intellectual property right institute (under Ministry of Science and Technology) showed that Pham Nguyen Confectionery Company infringes the protection rights of "ChocoPie" brand by National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam granted to Orion Corporation – Korea.

With the above result, Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch made a record of administrative violation in customs for Pham Nguyen Confectionery Company.

Mr. Le Nguyen Linh, Deputy Manager of Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch revealed that Customs authorities don’t have the competence to sanction for intellectual property infringement on export goods. Based on the direction of People’s Committee of HCM City, the unit has transferred dossiers to HCM City Market Management Branch for handling. However, due to difficulty in handling intellectual property infringement on exported goods, until now the case has not been resolved. Meanwhile, the statute of limitations will remain until 12/2017.

Faking up origin

According to the Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch, in recent years, many cases of export goods showed signs of intellectual property rights infringement have been detected, the unit has coordinated with competent authorities to clarify, protect intellectual property rights for export goods of enterprises.

According to Mr. Le Thanh Hai, enterprises may unintentionally or intentionally declare wrong codes, which lead to goods is subject to have export conditions but are classified as non-conditional goods in order to avoid being checked or detected. There are cases where enterprises are unaware of issues related to intellectual property infringement, deliberately using a trademark of another enterprise or carrying out goods production under contracts with foreign partners, but infringing intellectual property rights upon trademarks that have been protected.

Previously, when implementing procedures for 3 containers of cigarettes of C.L Tobacco Limited Company that were worth over 4.2 billion vnd exporting to Hong Kong, Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch also discovered all product in the shipment were forged indications on the origin and place of manufacture. According to case dossier, enterprise declared that export shipment including 3 containers of cigarettes labelled Master brand, packaging in 2,820 carton buckets with export duty rate was 0%. Thus Export Cargo Customs Procedure Team coordinated with Customs Enforcement Team of the Branch to conduct a physical inspection. They discovered the goods were declared correctly about the name and quantity. However, information on the package and tube of the product showed “Made in Armenia” while it was produced in Vietnam. Due to this violation, People’s Committee of HCM City issued a decision to sanction administrative violation for C.L Tobacco Limited Company by 50 million vnd, with the additional penalty is to confiscate all 3 containers of export cigarettes.

According to the HCM City Customs Department, in reality, the organization and operation of competent authorities that are responsible for against intellectual property infringement are lacking in synchronism and overlap, many enforcement measures are complex so lead to ineffectiveness and complex. Currently, there are 6 authorities, including People's Committees at all levels, Science and Technology Inspectorate, Culture Inspectorate, Economic Police, Market Management and Customs Authorities have the same level of competence in handling intellectual property infringement. However, the violation of ownership and faking up origin still happen widely. Customs authorities have attempted to prevent counterfeit origin, trademark infringement and IPR infringement from export and import shipments right at the border. However, this situation is still complicated. It must be required the participation of many Ministries and the enterprise itself.

By Lê Thu/Thanh Thuy