Preventing parallel import
Under the latest amendments to the Trademark Law, trademark holders in Serbia are afforded new possibilities in terms of prevention of the import of genuine goods entering the territory of the Republic of Serbia for the first time. The aim of this legal solution is to enable better control over the sale of goods, prevent unfair competition and protect the interests of authorised distributors.
In this respect, trademark holders may demand, in a regular court procedure, prohibition of parallel import of the original goods marked with their trademark. However, for timely and complete protection to be enforced before a court, trademark holders must be allowed, prior to filing an action against a parallel importer, to temporarily prevent the entry of goods into the Republic of Serbia (until the court procedure is completed) by having the goods, at their request, temporarily seized by the competent customs authorities. Unfortunately, the amendments to the Trademark Law, which improved protection in terms of prevention of parallel import, were not simultaneously accompanied by corresponding amendments to the by-laws governing the competencies of the customs authorities related to the protection of intellectual property rights at the border. This practically means that the customs authorities cannot act upon the requests of the trademark holders, i.e. they have no authority to temporarily seize goods at the border.
This inconsistency in regulations would certainly have to be resolved in future, i.e. the legislator would need to recognise the necessity to grant the trademark holders the possibility of coordinated protection against parallel import by allowing them recourse to courts and custom authorities for legal mechanisms in a consistent manner.