On 6 March 2020, the Ministry of Finance issued Circular 13/2020/TT-BTC on amendments to Circular 13/2015/TT-BTC dated January 30, 2015 on inspection, supervision and suspension of customs procedures for imports and exports that are subject matters of intellectual property rights; control of counterfeit goods and goods infringing intellectual property rights.
This new Circular mainly supplements and provides more specific regulations on the procedures specified in Circular 13/2015/TT-BTC. Accordingly, some important and notable changes are as follows:
E-filing of dossiers of request:
The new circular allows the submission of dossiers of request for inspection and supervision, extension of the time limit of application for Customs Recordal measures, and submission of request for suspension of customs procedures for exports, imports requiring intellectual property rights protection via the e-Customs system. This is a system managed by the General Department of Customs that allows customs authorities to carry out electronic customs procedures, connecting and exchanging information on export and import activities with related ministries and branches.
Proposing to inspect and supervise imports and exports that require protection of intellectual property rights
The same with the former Circular, dossier of request includes:
– Application for Customs Recordal according to form No.01 – DDN/SHTT/2020 in the Appendix attached to this Circular;
– Industrial property protection title or other documents proving the industrial property rights protected in Vietnam or a certificate of registration of a contract on licensing of industrial property object; Certificates of registration on copyright, rights related to copyright, rights to plant varieties or other documents proving copyright, rights related to copyright and rights to plant varieties;
– Description of goods infringing IPRs, photos, characteristics distinguishing genuine goods from goods infringing intellectual property rights;
– List of legitimate exporters and importers; a list of potential exporters or importers of goods infringing upon intellectual property rights;
– Authorization document;
Authorization content must be consistent with legal provisions; in case the authorizing organization, individual don’t have headquarter in Vietnam, the authorization document must be consularly legalized, except for cases where consular legalization is not required as agreed in International Treaties and Vietnam is a member;
In case of refusal to receive applications:
The new Circular provides that the customs authority has the right to refuse to receive the application if the supplementary dossier to submit is 10 working days overdue from the date on which the customs authority sends a notice of additional submission.
Extension and termination of the period of application for Customs Recordal.
– Supplementing cases where intellectual property rights holders wish to extend the time limit for application of Customs Recordal. In which, at least 20 days prior to the expiry date written in the notice of acceptance of the request for Customs Recordal, intellectual property right holder or the lawfully authorized person sends the written request application for extension to the General Department of Customs via e-Customs system under Clause 2, Article 74 of the Customs Law; the Application specifies information about the number, date and validity of the intellectual property protection title requesting extension; number and date of the customs authority’s written notice of acceptance of inspection and supervision. Customs authority shall receive applications for extension and handle them in accordance with Article 7 of this Circular.
– Supplementing case of termination of the time limit for application of the inspection and supervision measure above if the customs authority has grounds to determine that the vouchers in the dossier are no longer valid or forged.
Suspension of Customs procedure
Duration of suspension is 10 working days
Extension of suspension duration: In case the request for suspension has a good reason, this time limit shall be extended provided that the person requesting suspension of customs procedures must pay an additional amount or apply guarantee documents. The extended period shall not exceed 10 working days from the date of expiration of the suspension period.
Guidance and detailed regulations on customs inspection and supervision procedures
Checking customs dossiers: It is necessary to check information on customs declaration, compare information on customs declarations form with documents in customs dossiers, compare information on names of exporters and importers, goods, trademarks with information notified and collected by the Customs authorities.
Actual inspection of goods: Checking and comparing names of good and trademark inscribed on packages and goods with names of good and trademark declared by customs declarers on customs declarations form, vouchers of customs dossiers, warning information when checking customs documentation (if any) to determine compliance; actually comparing goods with dossiers of request for Customs Recordal. In addition, customs officers may propose leaders of Sub-departments to transfer information to the Customs anti-smuggling control force of the Department or to the Anti-smuggling Investigation Department (for serious and complicated cases) to verify, investigate, clarify and keep carrying out customs procedures as prescribed.
Handling of counterfeit goods or goods with signs of counterfeiting:
– If there are sufficient grounds for determining that the exports or imports are counterfeit, they shall be penalized according to law.
– When detecting exports or imports showing signs of counterfeiting, basing on signs and nature of goods, competent person shall immediately take preventive measures prescribed in Clause 3, Article 119, Article 125 of Law on Handling Administrative Violations. Pursuant to the seriousness and acts of violations, the competent agencies shall apply additional preventive measures according to the provisions of Clauses 4, 5 and 6, Article 119 of the Law on Handling Administrative Violation to verify counterfeiters; the application of preventive measures complies with Articles 126, 127, 128 and 129 of the Law on Handling Administrative Violations.
Handling goods with signs of infringement of intellectual property rights
For this case, the new circular has changed the processing time
In addition, this document also regulates and guides specifically the responsibilities, competence, as well as the method of implementing control operations.
In conclusion, the new circular 13/2020/TT-BTC has supplemented, changed and determined more specifically than the old circular. It makes management become easier and more accurate. In addition, the rights of intellectual property rights holders are strictly guaranteed, preventing infringements from affecting the common interests