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Is your AFA about to expire? What are the next steps?

03 Juni 2020

Have you filed a customs application for action and it is about to expire? Customs authorities must receive your extension request 30 working days before the expiry of the period to be extended.

As a rights holder you should protect and defend your rights. One way to do this is to ask customs to detain goods found to be suspected of infringing your intellectual property rights (IPR). Pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 608/2013, you can lodge an Application for Action (AFA) requesting customs to take action. You can file either a national AFA or a Union AFA. The IP Enforcement Portal allows you to file both types electronically following four easy steps. Once you have completed the AFA, you must send it to the customs authority of the submission country.

As per this regulation on the customs enforcement of IPR, the customs authority of the issuing country has 30 working days from receipt of the application to notify the rights holder of its decision to grant the AFA.

For more details on how to file an AFA in the portal, please check our presentation 10 key considerations when filing AFAs in the documentation area for rights holders of our landing page.

My AFA is expiring soon, what should I do?

In accordance with Regulation (EU) No 608/2013, the period during which customs authorities will take action on your behalf starts from the day the decision granting your AFA takes effect and lasts for one year. After this time your AFA will expire and you will need to file a new one.

During the time that your AFA is valid you can file a request for extension. The IP Enforcement Portal allows you to file extension requests both for AFAs that were filed originally through the portal and for those that were filed outside it. You can find instructions on how to file an extension request of your AFA in our User Guide (p. 78).

Similarly to the process for granting an AFA, the competent customs authority must receive an extension request 30 working days before the expiry of the period to be extended.

The EUIPO and the EU Commission (DG Taxud) are currently developing an electronic signature solution, which is planned to be ready by the end of summer 2021. In the meantime, please remember that the extension form, like the AFA form, needs to be signed. A printed signed version must be sent by post to the submission country. Under the Covid-19 situation, the majority of EU customs authorities are exceptionally also accepting scanned signed originals by email.

Don’t forget! As mentioned in the European Commission's website on the AFACo-operation is the most effective weapon: thanks to the information provided by the right-holders, customs may identify more easily goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (IPR) and take the necessary action.

Having trouble with filing your AFA or with extending your AFA in the portal? We are happy to help, just email us at ipenforcementportal@euipo.europa.eu