Can Rights Holders Record Trademark And Brand-Related IP Information With Lao Customs And, If So, How?
In Laos, customs recordal may serve as an effective means for enforcing IP rights as it prevents and suppresses IP counterfeiting of IPR holders’ products at Laos’ borders. In order to take advantages of customs registration system for IP protection in Laos, rights holders must submit a formal request for customs recordal of their IP rights with the Laos Customs Department. Trademarks, designs, and copyrights can be registered with customs in Laos, enabling enhanced IP protection measures at the country’s borders.
A customs recordal request is examined by the Laos Customs Department to assess its compliance with the necessary requirements and to confirm the eligibility of the IPR holder for recording their IP subject matter. The process typically involves the following steps:
- Submitting a customs recordal request: The IPR holder submits a customs recordal application, including all necessary documents and fees, to the Laos Customs Department.
- Application Examination: The Customs Department reviews the application to ensure its compliance with the necessary requirements. This involves verifying that the application contains all required information and that the documents are valid and authentic.
- Notification of Deficiencies, if any: If the customs officials identify missing documents or deem provided documents invalid, they may issue a Notice of Deficiencies to the trademark owner. This Notice outlines the specific issues with the application and sets a deadline for the trademark owner to submit the necessary corrections.
- Application Approval: Upon satisfactory submission of all required documents and information, the Customs Department will approve the customs recordal request within ten (10) working days. The trademark owner’s information and trademark details will be entered into the customs recordal system. An official Notice will be issued to the borders authorities, instructing them to monitor and prevent the crossing of counterfeit or IPR infringing goods.
Official fees for requesting custom recordal before customs authorities must be paid at the time of filing the request. For example, the official fee for a trademark customs recordal request is approximately US$30.
Customs recordal becomes effective from the date of approval and remains valid for two years. It can be renewed every two years upon the applicant’s request.
After the approval of the customs recordal request, the recorded information is forwarded to the provincial and capital customs offices, serving as a reference for officers inspecting goods at the Lao border. In this context, the rights owner can utilize the customs system to request the seizure of any goods that infringe on their rights.