28 June 2018

On 17 May 2018, the Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Bill (“Bill”) was introduced in Parliament for first reading. This Bill seeks to amend the Copyright Act (“CA”), Trade Marks Act (“TMA”), Registered Designs Act (“RDA”) and Geographical Indications Act (“GIA”) (collectively “IP Acts”) to enhance the border enforcement measures for intellectual property rights (“IPR”), as well as
to implement Singapore’s obligations under the proposed Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Singapore (“EUSFTA”) concerning those measures.

Set out below are the key proposed changes under the Bill.

New enhanced border enforcement measures under the EUSFTA

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 Bill will enable the seizure on request of suspected infringing goods under the CA and TMA that are to be exported. The Bill will also create a new regime under the RDA for the seizure on request of suspected infringing goods that are imported or to be exported. Enhanced border enforcement measures for geographical indications have already been included in the GIA which was passed in April 2014 but has not been brought into force yet. The Bill will also clarify the operation of the provisions for ex-officio seizure of infringing goods in the CA, TMA and GIA.

New powers for Singapore Customs to obtain and provide information

The Bill will enable information to be gathered under the IP Acts to facilitate the taking of infringement and enforcement actions. There will be a new power for Singapore Customs to provide IPR holders with the names and contact details of any person connected with the import or export of the seized goods necessary for instituting IPR infringement proceedings subject to the following conditions:

  • The infringing goods have been seized by Singapore Customs; and
  • IPR holders must provide Singapore Customs with a security deposit and supporting documents evidencing their IPR ownership.Under the Bill, Singapore Customs will also have the power to request for any information or document that may be relevant for border enforcement purposes.

Standardise the terms and provisions relating to border enforcement

The Bill will standardise the terms and provisions relating to border enforcement across the IP Acts, so that the same procedures may be used for different IPR.

Implementation in three phases

The implementation of the various key changes will be staggered over three phases, in accordance with Singapore’s EUSFTA obligations and Singapore Customs’ operational needs as follows:

  1. Upon passing of the Bill (Phase 1): New powers in the CA and TMA for Singapore Customs to obtain and provide information relating to the seized goods will be implemented.
  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.
  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.

Reference materials

The following materials are available from the Parliament website www.parliament.gov.sg and the Ministry of Law website www.minlaw.gov.sg:

 

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