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July 15, 2015 Vol. 70 No. 13 Back to Bulletin Main Page

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Landmark Dubai Decision in Border Measures: Recycling Counterfeit Goods

In a recent decision issued by Dubai Customs, Customs officials agreed to recycle confiscated counterfeit goods rather than reexport them.

For the last few years, with respect to complaints based on counterfeit goods filed with Dubai Customs, the common practice has been that Customs would re-export the goods, thereby barring them from entering Dubai. This practice seriously concerned trademark owners, as it merely moved the problem to another jurisdiction.

The recent case was based on an ad-hoc inspection conducted by Jabel Ali Port Customs officials. A suspected shipment comprised of counterfeit cigarettes was spotted at the storage facility of a logistic entity.

Forensic inspection determined that the cigarettes were counterfeit. An official Customs complaint was lodged and sought confiscation and destruction by means of recycling. Dubai Customs granted the request and subsequently recycled the goods, creating a new best practice with respect to disposing of counterfeits.

This case establishes an important precedent for trademark owners in customs cases and encourages the Dubai Customs Authority to revisit their border protection strategy. Customs has shown its willingness to work with brand owners on alternative solutions and to exchange their re-exporting policy for a more environmentally sound recycling policy.

There are indications that Customs Authorities in the wider United Arab Emerites (UAE) are trying to uniformly implement the recycling policy, as evidenced by contractual undertakings with UAE local recycling companies.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2015 International Trademark Association