Factsheet on Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Bill
17 May 2018 Posted in Press releases
The Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Bill (“the Bill”) seeks to amend the Copyright Act (“CA”), Trade Marks Act (“TMA”), Registered Designs Act (“RDA”) and Geographical Indications Act (“GIA”) - collectively known as “the IP Acts” to:
- implement Singapore’s obligations under the European Union – Singapore Free Trade Agreement (“EUSFTA”) to enhance border enforcement measures against goods infringing intellectual property rights (“IPR”);
- provide new powers for Singapore Customs (“Customs”) to obtain and provide information relating to the goods they seize; and
- standardise the terms and provisions relating to border enforcement across the IP Acts.
(I) Implement Enhanced Border Enforcement Measures under the EUSFTA
Under the EUSFTA, Singapore is obliged to enhance border enforcement measures against goods infringing IPR. This will require amendments to the IP Acts.
Enhanced border enforcement measures for geographical indications have already been included in the new GIA, which was passed in April 2014 but has not been brought into force yet.
The Bill will implement the following enhanced border enforcement measures in the remaining IP Acts, pursuant to our EUSFTA obligations:
- On IPR holders’ request, allow the seizure of suspected infringing goods that are to be exported under the CA and TMA, and
- On IPR holders’ request, allow the seizure of suspected infringing goods that are imported or to be exported under the RDA.
Table 1 below shows a summary of the enhanced border enforcement measures marked as ‘New’.
|Action||Scope of IPR|
|Ex officio for imports||Existing||Existing||Passed||-|
|Ex officio for exports||Existing||Existing||Passed||-|
|IPR holder imports||Existing||Existing||Passed||New|
|IPR holder exports||New||New||Passed||New|
(II) New Powers for Customs to Obtain and Provide Information
- To effectively carry out its border enforcement duty, Customs requires powers to obtain and provide IPR holders with information that is necessary for instituting IPR infringement proceedings relating to seized IPR infringing goods.
The Bill will introduce a new power for Customs to provide IPR holders with the names and contact details of any person connected with the import or export of the seized goods necessary for instituting IPR infringement proceedings. This will be a narrow exception to Customs’ obligations to keep the aforesaid information confidential.
As safeguards against anyone attempting to abuse the provision to “fish” for information on their competitors or otherwise, the information may be disclosed only after the following have taken place:
Customs have seized the infringing goods, and
IPR holders have provided Customs with a security deposit and supporting documents evidencing their IPR ownership.
The Bill will also introduce a new power for Customs to request any information or document that may be relevant for border enforcement purposes.
(III) Standardise the terms and provisions relating to border enforcement
- The Bill will standardise the terms and provisions relating to border enforcement across the IP Acts, so that the same procedures may be used for different IPR.
- The implementation of the various key changes will be staggered over 3 phases, in accordance with Singapore’s EUSFTA obligations and Customs’ operational needs as follows:
|Implementation Timeline||Key Changes|
|Phase 1: Upon passing the Bill||
|Phase 2: Upon entry into force of EUSFTA||
|Phase 3: Within 3 years of the entry into force of EUSFTA||
 The enhanced border enforcement measures in the GIA, which have been introduced in the new GIA and passed in April 2014, will also be implemented within 3 years of the entry into force of EUSFTA, in accordance with EUSFTA obligations.
Last updated on 17 May 2018