Knowledge Highlights 19 November 2019

With effect from 21 November 2019, provisions in the Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Act 2018 (“Act”) which relate primarily to enhanced border enforcement measures in the Copyright Act (“CA”) and Trade Marks Act (“TMA”), and the standardised terms and provisions relating to border enforcement in the CA and TMA, will take effect. There is currently an existing regime under the CA and TMA for the seizure on request of suspected infringing goods that are imported, but no similar framework exists for the seizure of suspected infringing goods that are exported. The Act will now enable the seizure on request of suspected infringing goods under the CA and TMA that are to be exported.

The following subsidiary legislation (available on the Ministry of Law website www.mlaw.gov.sg) has also been issued and will take effect on 21 November 2019:

This follows the expected entry-into-force of the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (“EUSFTA”) on 21 November 2019. On 8 November 2019, the Council of the European Union (“EU”) adopted the decision to conclude the EUSFTA, marking the final stage in the EU’s internal approval process for the EUSFTA. The EU and Singapore will proceed to complete their respective remaining administrative processes, with a view to enabling the EUSFTA to enter into force on 21 November 2019.

Background

The Act is enacted to amend the CA, TMA, Registered Designs Act (“RDA”) and Geographical Indications Act 2014 (“GIA”) to enhance the border enforcement measures for intellectual property rights, as well as to implement Singapore’s obligations under the EUSFTA concerning those measures. The provisions of the Act are slated to come into force in three phases as follows:

  1. Upon passing of the Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Bill (Phase 1): New powers in the CA and TMA for Singapore Customs to obtain and provide information relating to seized goods already came into force on 10 October 2018. 
  2. Upon entry into force of EUSFTA (Phase 2): Enhanced border enforcement measures in the CA and TMA, and the standardised terms and provisions relating to border enforcement in the CA and TMA, will be implemented on 21 November 2019. 
  3. Within three years of the entry into force of EUSFTA (Phase 3): Enhanced border enforcement measures in the RDA, new powers in the GIA and RDA for Singapore Customs to obtain and provide information relating to the seized goods and the standardised terms and provisions relating to border enforcement in the GIA and RDA will be implemented. 

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