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Application for Action

 

According to Customs Regulation (EU) No 608/2013, a customs Application for Action (AFA) must be submitted to a competent customs department designated by the Member State for customs to act at the borders on behalf of the right holder. The main purpose of AFA is to request customs to detain goods found to be suspected of infringing your intellectual property rights (IPR).
 
It may happen that customs detain suspected goods that are not covered by a valid AFA. In this case, the rights holder, once identified, is entitled to submit an ex-officio AFA within four working days of notification. The ex-officio AFA is a shorter version of the AFA (information regarding the product identification, such as images, is not needed).

The IP Enforcement Portal helps you to prepare customs AFAs in four steps, using the IPR and product information previously entered in the database. The IP Enforcement Portal only allows submitting the AFA once all the mandatory fields of the AFA are completed. The mandatory fields in the IP Enforcement Portal are defined by the Customs Regulation (EU) No 608/2013.
 
If mandatory information is missing when generating an AFA, the tool automatically displays a link to the corresponding field in the system to complete the missing information, thus helping the user in the process.
 
The main advantage is that the information contained in an AFA filed through the IP Enforcement Portal arrives in the customs COPIS database in a structured manner rather than in the form of attachments, is searchable and, in this way, can be fed into the different risk analysis systems used by customs.
 
Independently of the language in which the rights holder or his or her representative drafts the AFA, the document is generated in all the languages of the Member States where the AFA will be applicable and send to customs in the language of the customs receiving it as well as English, French and German, thereby overcoming any translation issues.
 

A Union AFA is only possible with respect to intellectual property rights based on Union law applicable throughout the Union, such as the EU trade mark, the Community design or international trade marks designating the EU, as well as Geographical Indications for agricultural products. Thus, for a Union AFA you need to have one of the abovementioned IP rights. If you want to request a customs action in more than one Member State, you can file a Union AFA and select the Member States where the AFA is applicable.
 
Should you want to use a national IP right, you will have to file a national AFA in the respective Member State. Both types of AFA can be filed through the IP Enforcement Portal.
 


If you have filed a Union AFA outside of the IP Enforcement Portal, it is not necessary to file it again through the IP Enforcement Portal.
 
However, it is important to fill in the information about your company, products and IPR(s) and share it with police authorities accessing the tool (because AFAs are sent only to customs).
 
If you have all the product information in the IP Enforcement Portal, you can generate a new AFA once the AFA you have already filed expires. The advantage is that the information contained in an AFA filed through the IP Enforcement Portal arrives in the customs COPIS database in a structured manner and is available in the different languages.
 

Yes, you can request modification of your AFA. Regulation (EU) No 608/2013 allows for this possibility, although no standard form has been established for this or been made available to rights holders. In case of amendments, you need to send your amendment to the granting Member State’s customs administration, which will deal with it accordingly.
 
Click here to find the EU customs contact details.
 
You will also find the contact details of Customs and Police Officers under the tab Customs and Police Repository in the IP Enforcement Portal:


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The country of origin, called the ‘ Submission country’, is the Member State where the application is submitted and then granted by the national customs authority.
 
All the other Member States, apart from the submission country where customs action is requested, become the ‘ Applicable countries’.
 
Once an AFA has been granted by the submission country, the AFA is also valid in all the selected applicable Member States, in which customs action is requested by the applicant, the only condition being that the Applicable country can request the translation of the AFA, if it has not been provided. The AFA will be generated in these Member States languages plus English.

The companies involved in infringement are those that have been identified in the past as infringers or suspected of being implicated in the process of IPR infringement. Their functions can be the following: import, manufacture, carry, consign, export, ‘Intermediaire’ (Intermediary), Consignor, Distributor, Supplier and Trader. This information complies with Customs Regulation (EU) No 608/2013, but is not stored in the IP Enforcement Portal for reasons of data protection.
 

Yes, companies involved in infringement can only be added in the third step, ‘Select your products’, when filing an AFA. The information included in the table, ‘Add Company Involved Infringements’, will not be stored in the database for reasons of data protection. However, this information will be included in the pre-AFA and will be sent electronically to customs.




The last step of the AFA process is to preview the full AFA and its annexes in the language selected (language of the submission country or English). This is so that you can view your full AFA document on the screen before sending it.
 
The printed version of the pre-AFA is available in the fourth step of the AFA process.
You can view or download your application before submitting it to customs.

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You may upload any number of separate documents with additional information (in PDF format) in ‘Accompanying Documents’.
 
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However, it is not recommended to add an excessive number of separate documents, as the information uploaded here is neither translated for the enforcement authorities nor searchable from the PDF files.
 
A file will be visible to the authorities that access the IP Enforcement Portal  and if you have selected it within the sharing criteria of the product. It is also sent electronically in the AFA. It is not previously viewed in the pre-AFA document in the IP Enforcement Portal  in order to not overload the system. Therefore, please print any attached documents in Product Document Portfolio and send them together with a printed copy of the AFA.
 
Any licence agreements and/or powers of attorney that you have linked to the AFA when generating it in the IP Enforcement Portal  will also be visible in the AFA in COPIS.
 
Please note that the attachments will not be translated. Customs of the Member States can ask for a translation of these attachments but the AFA will not be applicable in their country unless the AFA is filed.
 
All other attached documents in ‘Company Information’ are accessible to customs only in the IP Enforcement Portal, however these are not sent in the AFA, unless it is the power of attorney or licence agreement(s) attached to the AFA in Step1.


 

Granted is the final status for a pre-AFA and it means that the AFA has been successfully granted and created in the customs system. It is also available to all the requested countries. 
A pre-AFA is defined by the following statuses:
 
  • Draft: the pre-AFA has been saved as a draft and has not yet been sent to customs. When a pre-AFA is in Draft status, the Edit and Delete actions are available. 
  • Generated: the pre-AFA has been generated and sent to customs. 
  • Validated: the pre-AFA has been validated by the customs system. 
  • Pre-AFA Rejected: the pre-AFA has not been validated by the customs system. 
  • Pre-AFA Submitted: the pre-AFA and the attachments have been successfully received by customs. As per Regulation (EU) No 608/2013 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. 
  • Pre-AFA Attachment Unavailable: there is a problem in the customs system when retrieving the attachment(s). 
  • AFA Granted: the AFA has been successfully created in the customs system. The AFA ID is available.

Following Customs Regulation (EU) No. 608/2013, it is mandatory to send the signed version (paper) of the pre – AFA to the customs authority of the submission country.
When you submit your pre-AFA to customs in the IP Enforcement Portal, you will receive an email notification with your pre – AFA ID and a link to the customs contact details of the Member States for AFAs. The IP Enforcement Portal  allows you to print the pre-AFA, for you to sign it and send it to the customs authority of the submission country. 
Legal representatives should also send Power of Attorney together with the paper version.
 

If your submission country is Spain, it is not necessary to send a signed paper version of the pre-AFA to the Spanish customs. Once the pre-AFA has been submitted in the IP Enforcement Portal, it will be sent electronically and automatically loaded into the Spanish system.
If your submission country is Italy, a signed paper version of the pre-AFA has to be sent to the Italian customs.
 
In Italy, when a pre-AFA is sent to customs, it is loaded into the Italian system (Falstaff) and a one-time password (OTP) is sent by email to the Contact Point indicated in the pre-AFA (the Contact Point defined in the IP Enforcement Portal). Then, it will be possible to access the pre-AFA in Falstaff by entering the pre-AFA ID and the OTP received by email, to insert the electronic signature.
 
In the same screen there is also the option to re-generate this OTP. You can find detailed information on the Italian system in the following link in the video ‘02 — Come recuperare il codice della PreAFA- scarica il video’:
 
https://www.agenziadoganemonopoli.gov.it/portale/-/new-national-and-unional-tools-for-enforcement-of-ipri
 
In Spain, the pre-AFA is uploaded into the Sede Electronica of the Spanish Agencia Tributaria.
 
https://www.agenciatributaria.gob.es/AEAT.sede/tramitacion/DB07.shtml
 
Click on Form to request intervention in trade mark infringement (in Spanish: Formulario de solicitud de intervención de marcas), and then, with your digital certificate, you will need to provide your pre-AFA ID. Please, do not forget to click on Sign Send (in Spanish: Firmar Enviar) to finalise the process.


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Page last updated 25-06-2018
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