Application for Action
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).
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.
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.
Currently, there is no specific template or format of the power of attorney applicable at EU level for AFAs. It should be in accordance with the legislation of the submission country.
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.
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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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.
Important: according to Customs Regulation (EU) No 608/2013, for the AFAs, it is mandatory to indicate a Contact Point, both for legal and for technical matters in all the Member States where the AFA will be applicable. The Contact Point for legal and technical matters may be the same person. In such a case, the option for legal and technical matters has to be selected.
When suspicious goods are detained, the customs authorities will contact the representative for legal matters concerning the legal obligations and rights of the holder of the decision granting the application and, in particular, concerning the legal aspects of the administrative procedures for the detention of suspected goods.
When goods are subjected to customs control for the purpose of IPR enforcement, the customs authorities may contact the representative for technical matters concerning information on specific and technical data on the authentic goods, information needed to enable the customs authorities to identify infringing goods and information relevant to the customs authorities analysis and assessment of the risk of infringement of the intellectual property right or the intellectual property rights concerned.
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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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.
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 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’:
In Spain, the pre-AFA is uploaded into the Sede Electronica of the Spanish Agencia Tributaria.
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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