Customs enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights at the external borders of the EU, with specific reference to developments in respect of Community Plant Variety Rights: Lessons for Africa’s agricultural producers

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Customs enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights at the external borders of the EU, with specific reference to developments in respect of Community Plant Variety Rights: Lessons for Africa’s agricultural producers

Customs enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights at the external borders of the EU, with specific reference to developments in respect of Community Plant Variety Rights: Lessons for Africa’s agricultural producers

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Working Papers ~ Abrie du Plessis

An effective Intellectual Property Right (IPR) system makes an important contribution to trade because it provides confidence to right holders that their rights will be respected and that rightful earnings will be returned to IPR holders when goods and services are traded internationally. It at the same time provides users of IPRs with the legal certainty they need for conducting their economic activities. Effective IPR systems boost economic growth, promote investment and support industries that promote creativity and innovation.

It has long been recognised that the moment at which goods officially enter a country, customs union, or single market for their eventual release for free circulation represents an opportunity for customs authorities to take action in respect of goods suspected of infringing the rights of holders of IPRs.

This working paper discusses the approaches of the European Union (EU) with respect to the enforcement of IPRs at its external borders, and it also looks at recently reported developments around border measures and Community Plant Variety Rights (CPVRs). It will show how globalisation and the increase in international trade necessitated adjustments and legal developments, and how international law has shaped municipal law.

It also provides a detailed picture of how the current EU dispensation on the enforcement of IPRs at its external borders operates in practice, pointing out the benefits but also the potential shortcomings when applied to complex cases involving more recent forms of IPRs. Some important learnings for agricultural producers on the African continent are also provided.


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