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Application For Action - AFA - for the enforcement of intellectual property rights
The Customs and Monopolies Agency is the Italian body competent to receive and process applications for the enforcement of intellectual property rights - Application for Action - (hereinafter referred to as AFA).
From 1 January 2014, the reference legal framework to request the customs enforcement of intellectual property rights is provided by:
- EU Regulation no. 608/2013 (945 KB), basic regulation, which establishes the legislative framework for the enforcement of IPR and regulates the action by the customs authorities in case of goods suspected of counterfeiting;
- EU Regulation no. 1352/2013 (1,29 MB), implementing regulation, establishing the forms to be used for the request of enforcement of IPR by the Customs authorities.
Persons and entities indicated in art. 3 of EU Reg. no. 608/2013 are entitled to submit the application. The request can be submitted to the Customs Authorities for the enforcement of one or more IPRs, as specified in art. 2 of the EU Reg. No. 608/2013, points 1 to 4.
The application for action may be:
- national, when requesting the customs authorities of a Member State to take action in that Member State;
- Union, when submitted in one Member State and requesting (according to the text provided) the customs authorities of that Member State and of one or more other Member States to take action in their respective Member States; in that case the right shall be registered at the European Union Intellectual Property Office – EUIPO - www.euipo.eu ) and the certificate of registration is valid all over the European Union.
Submission of an application for action (AFA)
Applications shall be submitted – by electronic means exclusively - to the competent Customs Services, pursuant to art. 5 of EU Reg. no. 608/2013. The updated list of the Customs Authorities of EU Member States to which the applications for actions may be submitted is available on the website of the European Commission web – DG TAXUD.
In Italy, the office entitled to receive and process applications is:
AGENZIA DELLE DOGANE E DEI MONOPOLI
DIREZIONE CENTRALE DOGANE
Ufficio AEO, compliance e grandi imprese
Via Mario Carucci, 71- 00143 ROMA
PEC: firstname.lastname@example.org for the official documents concerning the application for action.
As from 1st July 2014 all applications for action, together with the relevant documentation, shall be submitted by electronic means exclusively.
The use of the online procedure for the submission of applications for action (new requests and requests of extension of the period of validity) - mandatory pursuant to art. 5.6 of the EU Reg. no. 608/2013 - allows, among other things, a more timely updating of information on products and therefore simplifies the related controls.
The holders and their representatives shall submit to the competent Customs Service the application (form) and the original documentation, notarized and including any apostille (when issued in a foreign country) if Treaties and Conventions in force so provide. The right holder may indicate, among the registration certificates, national, community and international rights.
The above documentation (e.g. form, power of attorney etc.) shall be sent to the following certified e-mail box:
For details on the electronic submission of applications, please see the section dedicated to F.A.L.S.T.A.F.F. Project.
Submission of application for action (AFA) via the EDB
The right-holders (or their representatives) may as well fill in a draft application form (pre-AFA) through the EUIPO Enforcement Data base platform (EDB) pursuant to EU Regulation no. 608/2013.
The pre-AFAs prepared in EDB are sent to COPIS system, which forwards them to the system of the Member State selected as the "Country of submission of the application".
FALSTAFF makes available to the holders the Pre-AFAs acquired in EDB for the completion of the application for action (AFA) having Italy as the "Country of submission of the application".
For details on the submission of applications via the EDB, please see the section dedicated to the F.A.L.S.T.A.F.F. Project.
Amending an application for action (AFA)
The right-holders (or their representatives) are responsible for updating the information in the AFA.
Any amendment to the AFA must be made through FALSTAFF.
For details on amendments to the applications, please see the section dedicated to F.A.L.S.T.A.F.F. Project.
Extension of the validity period of an application for action (AFA)
Right-holders (or their representatives) can request an extension of the validity period of their AFA through FALSTAFF.
For details on the extension of the requests, please see the section dedicated to F.A.L.S.T.A.F.F. Project.
Developed and started in 2004, the FALSTAFF project aims at encouraging the circulation of genuine goods, compliant with quality and safety standards, in order to ensure free competition on the market.
The project is realized through the implementation in the AIDA (Integrated Customs and Excise Automation) information system of the Agency of a multimedia showcase of genuine products. The corresponding database is fed by the information made available by the holders of intellectual property rights and allows the comparison of products suspected of counterfeiting with the original products. Each holder requesting an intervention for the enforcement of his/her intellectual property right generates in the database, for each product, a file where all the relevant technical information may also be entered. Images and the "map" of customs routes may also be added to textual information.
Customs officers can query the database in real time and they may – in case of need - contact the experts of trade associations and/or quality certification bodies for the products to be protected. The Database is also linked to the Customs Control Circuit and allows for the definition of further risk profiles which may help to detect – at the time of receiving the customs declaration - the customs operations at risks of counterfeiting.
This is possible since the Customs Control Circuit analyses, in real time, all import and export declarations submitted to customs and sorts them automatically into the control channels matching risk profiles established also according to the parameters indicated by companies in the files.
By implementing this system the Customs Agency succeeded in effectively meeting some of the most urgent needs concerning the fight against counterfeiting: identifying the highest possible number of counterfeit products and counterfeiting strategies and take the fastest possible action in this respect. These goals can only be achieved through electronic means.
In 2005 the FALSTAFF project received the Honorable Mention - pdf (156 KB) during the 2005 eEurope Awards (the European Innovation Oscar) rewarding the best e-government initiatives and which took place in Manchester.
Recently, new features were added to FALSTAFF system to incorporate the changes introduced by Regulation (EU) No. 608/2013 and, in particular, to implement a system to system interaction with CO.PI.S. (anti-COunterfeit and anti PIracy information System), developed by the European Commission for the exchange of data between the Member States and the Commission on decisions regarding applications for action and the detention of goods.