Lithuanian customs detained a large batch of counterfeit Rubik's Cubes. What will happen to the counterfeit when trying to import it into Belarus?
A few days ago, some news media reported that Lithuanian customs officers had seized about five thousand counterfeit Rubik’s Cubes, which were intended to be imported into the territory of Belarus. The batches with the counterfeit puzzle are reported to have been confiscated by the Lithuanian customs and to be destroyed in the near future. However, have you ever wondered what would have happened if the counterfeit goods had reached the customs clearance in Belarus? What measures could be taken by the Belarusian customs authorities in this situation?
In our business practice, we have encountered the following possible scenarios.
To start with, it is quite common for large consignments of counterfeit goods not to be properly declared. At customs, the shipping carrier “forgets” or “has no clue” at all about what he is transporting, and such goods magically disappear from all documents of title. And if in the course of customs inspection the counterfeit goods are detected, the customs may initiate administrative proceedings for failure to declare or for providing falsified information about the goods. Possible sanctions may include a fine of up to 30% of the value of the subject of the administrative offence (for individual entrepreneurs and legal entities).
Let’s assume that the intellectual property right object ‘Rubik’s Cube’ is included in the National Customs Intellectual Property Register (CIPR). In this case, customs control measures are taken during customs clearance: the time limit for the release of goods is suspended and the customs authority notifies the right holder. The right holder has the right within 10 working days to file with the customs office, for example, an application to protect their rights. Once the application has been processed, the customs authority issues a report and the case is referred to the court, where a decision is made on how the counterfeit goods will be dealt with. Possible sanctions include a fine of 50 to 100 basic units with or without confiscation of goods (for individual entrepreneurs), and for legal entities – from 100 to 300 basic units with or without confiscation of goods. In addition, the owner of the intellectual property right object may request the court to destroy the counterfeit goods.
The intellectual property right object ‘Rubik’s Cube’ is not included in the CIPR, but the customs authority can inform the right holder about the detection of counterfeit goods. After that, the right holder may file an application with the customs office on violation of their rights. The further course of action is similar to Scenario 2.
The team at LEXPATENT LLC will be happy to assist you in protecting your rights in all possible cases and scenarios!
P.S.: Check out our earlier article about the history of Rubik’s Cube here: https://lexpatent.by/ru/news/2023/03/21/kubik/.
Yulia Selikhanova, Legal Counsel
Valeria Siarhei, Deputy Head of Legal Department