Customs Enforcement of Trademark & IPR

Japan Customs and Tariff Bureau (JCTB), the primary agency responsible for securing Japan’s borders, is also charged with the protection of intellectual property rights and guarding against the infringement of Japan trademarks and IPR.

In the interests of protecting the Japanese economy, as well as the security, health, and safety of Japanese consumers, JCTB is legally authorized to exclude, detain and/or seize imported goods, including counterfeit and faked goods, which violate intellectual property rights in Japan. Such enforcement efforts have been steadily increasing, offering copyright and trademark owners a strategic tool for enforcing their rights against infringing products.

In view of the increasing number of infringing goods entering Japan, an important, but sometimes overlooked, a tool for brand owners is the recordation of registered trademarks with JCTB.

Once recorded, the trademark information is uploaded to the national JCTB database and available at all ports and airports of entry. Based on this information, JCTB will detain, seize or exclude infringing goods and notify the rights owner if JCTB discovers a suspect shipment.  The rights owner will be provided with the date of importation, port of entry, description and quantity of goods, country of origin, and names and addresses of manufacturer, exporter, and importer.  Such information is highly valuable in preventing further infringement and in future enforcement actions.  In some cases, it may be possible to request photographs of the seized goods to verify if they are counterfeit or genuine.

JCTB allows for the recordation of trademarks registered by the Japan Patent Office.

The recordation process is straightforward and cost-effective. The trademark owner will need to provide information or explanation to discriminate genuine goods from counterfeit so that JCTB staff can seize only counterfeit and faked goods efficiently.

MARKS IP Law Firm attorneys have sufficient experience to seize faked goods at the port of Japan in cooperation with JCTB.