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Customs seizures: Norway aligns with European Union

Norway introduces new rules for customs seizures of goods infringing IP rights. The new rules are expected to come into force from January 2021 and are more aligned with comparable EU rules than the current Norwegian rules. Nevertheless, Norway will not become part of the EU-wide system for filing and processing border seizure applications. Right holders who have already submitted an application for customs seizures in the European Union under the EU Customs Regulation (608/2013) will still have to submit a new application for customs seizures in Norway under the Norwegian Customs Act.

From January 2021, the Norwegian Government will introduce new rules and regulations on customs seizures to bring them more into line with the European Union’s current rules. The new rules will make it easier for right holders to apply to the customs authorities for the seizure of suspected infringing goods, and the procedure for destroying such goods has also been simplified. The simplified procedures will result in lower costs for right holders.

What is a customs seizure?

When a customs authority seizes a shipment, it takes the goods into custody. The reasons for the seizure of a shipment can vary, but usually it has to do with what they call intellectual property infringement. The goods may be illegal copies, but it is also possible that a design is too similar. In most cases, these goods are destroyed by the customs authorities.

Right holders can apply to the customs authority to detain and seize a shipment of allegedly infringing goods. The Norwegian rules are aligned with the rules of the European Union, but are not fully harmonised. There is a European system for submitting applications for border seizure, but Norway will not become part of this system. An application for seizure of infringing goods in the European Union is not sufficient. A separate application must be made to the Norwegian Customs Authority.

Norway’s special status

Norway is not a Member State of the European Union, but it is a member of the European Economic Area. This means that Norway sets its own customs duties on goods from outside the internal market and at the same time Norwegian goods are imported into the European Union duty-free.

For Norwegian exporters this means that they must be able to prove that the goods they import into the European Union are of Norwegian origin. Goods from third countries cannot be imported duty-free.

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