Key facts of the case:
(Customs action against goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights – Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003 – Article 13(1) – Competent authority to conduct proceedings to determine whether an intellectual property right has been infringed – Competence of the customs authorities to initiate proceedings to determine whether an intellectual property right has been infringed – Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union)
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
In the light of the above considerations, I consider that the Court should answer the questions referred by the Riigikohus as follows:
- Article 13(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003 of 22 July 2003 concerning customs action against goods suspected of infringing certain intellectual property rights and the measures to be taken against goods found to have infringed such rights has to be interpreted in such a way that it does not exclude Member States from empowering customs authorities to conduct the proceedings mentioned in the provision, on condition that the said power is provided for explicitly in national law, the customs authorities act in a manner that ensures their independence and impartiality, the right to be heard is respected and the opportunity for judicial review is granted.
- Article 13(1) of Regulation No 1383/2003 has to be interpreted in such a way that it does not exclude Member States from providing for the possibility that the customs authorities also formally initiate the proceedings mentioned in the provision themselves.
Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: