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01 February 2016

Border Protection Measures in Moldova

The adoption of border protection measures by the Moldovan authorities appears to be a big step forward, given the large volume of piracy and counterfeit goods that have plagued the Republic of Moldova since it has declared its independence.


The Moldovan Customs Code (Codul Vamal al Republicii Moldova) (“Customs Code”) empowers representatives of the Moldovan Customs Service (“Service”) to act either: (i) ex-officio; or (ii) on the basis of requests filed by intellectual property (“IP”) right-holders (“Holder”).

Ex-officio measures

The representatives of the Service are entitled, acting ex-officio, to seize and detain goods presented for customs clearance for a period of four days where sufficient grounds exist to suspect that the goods may infringe certain IP rights. Holders are then granted four days, calculated from the date that they were notified of the detention of the goods, to file a request for intervention (“Request”) pursuant to Art 302 (1) of the Customs Code. Should no Request be filed, the goods will be released and the customs clearance procedure will continue (Art 302 (2) Customs Code).

Measures taken at a holder’s request

In addition to this ex-officio procedure, filings of pre-seizure Requests by Holders have become more common in Moldova. This option holds multiple advantages:

(i) Holders have the opportunity to provide information about the relevant goods to the customs authorities. This information, which can include, for example, identification details, countries of production, transportation routes, technical specifications, and so on, may assist the Service in recognising infringing goods and distinguishing between infringing and genuine goods (Art 302¹ (3) Customs Code);

(ii) Requests, if accepted, are valid one year, during which Holders are exempted from the obligation to present information anew each time the customs authority has to intervene (art 303 (1) Customs Code);

(iii) Holders are granted a 10-days term (three days for perishable goods) to initiate actions with regard to goods intended for introduction to the territory of Moldova and which are suspected of infringing the Holder’s IP rights. This term is longer than the four-days granted in case of ex-officio measures (art 304 (2) (a) (3) Customs Code);

(iv) Holders are exempted from the obligation to pay administrative fees in connection with the management of the Request (art 302¹ (7) Customs Code).
The procedure on filing and acceptance of the request

Requests filed by Holders with the Service are required to contain at least:

(i) identification data of the Holder;

(ii) a precise and detailed technical description of the genuine goods, the information about the producer and the production place, and information about other right holders;

(iii) any specific information, known by the Holder, about the methods of infringement of the Holder’s rights; and

(iv) contact details for a representative of the Holder (art 302¹ (1) Customs Code).

A Holder should also provide other information, including photographs and samples, which could help the Service to differentiate between genuine goods and goods which may infringe the Holder’s IP rights (art 302¹ (2) (3) Customs Code).

Further, the Request is to be accompanied by documents confirming that the applicant is the Holder and by a declaration of consent on the part of the applicant to assume responsibility, including to cover any incurred expenses, in case it turns out that the goods that are intended to be introduced into Moldovan territory do not infringe on the Holder’s IP rights (art 302¹ (4) Customs Code).

Within 30 days of filing the Request, the Service is to notify the applicant whether it has been accepted or rejected. The Service’s decision on this matter can be contested in court within 30 days, calculated from the date the applicant was notified of the decision (art 302¹ (6) (8) Customs Code).

The rules on border protection measures can constitute an efficient mechanism in fighting against the infringement of intellectual property rights, but only if cooperation between the customs authority and the holders of the respective intellectual property rights is good.

author: Andrian Guzun


Attorney at Law