New powers for NZ Customs in war on counterfeit products (8 February 2012

By: The Law Report  05-Apr-2012


Added: Feb 8, 2012

In New Zealand, counterfeiting continues to be a problem, with New Zealand Customs regularly intercepting shipments of counterfeit and pirated goods destined for the New Zealand market. Under the Trade Marks Act 2002, it is a criminal offence to import or sell goods with falsely applied registered trade marks. A product is considered a counterfeit when a registered trade mark is applied to products without the permission of its owner. Under the Copyright Act 1994, pirated goods are goods made without the authority of the copyright owner.

Recent changes to the trade mark and copyright legislation, however, ramp up the government approach to counterfeit products. These amendments create the role of “enforcement officers” within New Zealand Customs, who are given wide reaching powers which allow them to investigate instances of counterfeiting and pirating, and conduct search and seizure operations as part of their investigations.

The amendments allow New Zealand Customs and the National Economic Unit of the Ministry of Economic Development the authority to investigate and prosecute the trade mark and copyright offences in addition to existing police powers.