Book Review: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Through Border Measures, Law and Practice in the EU

August 2006

Edited by Olivier Vrins and Marius Schneider, Oxford University Press, 2006; ISBN-10: 0-19-928879-8, Price: £175.00
Edited by Olivier Vrins and Marius Schneider, Oxford University Press, 2006; ISBN-10: 0-19-928879-8, Price: £175.00

Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Through Border Measures – Law and Practice in the EU, edited by Olivier Vrins and Marius Schneider, is a very practical contribution to the concerted fight against counterfeiting and piracy. The book provides a detailed, structured analysis of the border measures currently in place in each of the 25 European Union (EU) countries. It contains extensive references to case law, the day-to-day practice of customs authorities and further advice on sound commercial practices.

The book is timely as global levels of counterfeiting and piracy remain high. At stake are not only intellectual property rights, but public health, public order and consumer safety. Customs authorities – once primarily in charge of controlling the circulation of goods and the payment of tariffs – are now at the forefront in the fight against cross-border trade in counterfeit and pirated goods. In order to operate effectively, they need to be backed by strong legislation on border measures and on the follow-up to such measures.

In the EU, the regulatory framework for the enforcement of border measures is contained in the European Community (EC) Regulation 1383/2003, (Customs Actions Against Goods Suspected of Infringing Intellectual Property Rights), and the provisions for its implementation in EC Regulation 1891/2004. Their practical application, however, depends upon the national rules and procedures of the Member States. Other rules and procedures under national laws include the Intellectual Property Code or the Customs Code. In this respect, Messrs. Vrins’ and Schneider’s book is a valuable compendium, which covers the implementation of the EU regime, plus relevant areas of national law, to provide an overview of how the current regime of border measures is applied within the EU.

The book starts with an analysis of the counterfeiting and piracy phenomenon in the EU by Professor Michael Blakeney of Queen Mary, University of London. This is followed by an analysis of the international legal framework – Bern and Paris Conventions, the TRIPS Agreement and WIPO Model Provision – for border measures by Professor Daniel J. Gervais, Vice-Dean of Research University of Ottawa. The two editors then present the Community legal framework. The main body of the work consists of national chapters, written by a practitioner in the field, on the application of border measures in all 25 EU countries. Jeremy Phillips (Visiting Professorial Fellow, Queen Mary), provides a conclusion emphasizing the confluence of interests between honest traders, consumers, and national governments, whether of the EU or of the countries of origin of the infringing goods.

The weighty volume (some 1,400 pages) is a practical tool for any IP rights holders, lawyers and enforcement authorities involved in cross-border trade with or within the EU, as well as being a reference work for academics and libraries.

The fight against counterfeiting and piracy at the borders – and hence the fight to protect public health, order and security – will only succeed if there is closer collaboration between public authorities and right-holders. The small number of applications for action by customs authorities in the European Union (2,888 in 2004) shows that much remains to be done.


Reviewed by André Heitz, WIPO Coordination Office, Brussels

Related Links

The WIPO Magazine is intended to help broaden public understanding of intellectual property and of WIPO’s work, and is not an official document of WIPO. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WIPO concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. This publication is not intended to reflect the views of the Member States or the WIPO Secretariat. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by WIPO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.