Home » Helpful info » Border protection

Enforcement of custom notices FAQs

How do I lodge a Customs Notice?

See our “Lodging Customs Notices FAQ”

How does Customs know when to detain suspected infringing goods?

Once a Notice is lodged, Customs will inspect shipments randomly for infringing goods, and will detain any goods it suspects of infringing the relevant trade mark and/or copyright work. If necessary, it will confirm with the trade mark/copyright owner (usually by way of a digital photograph) that the goods are in fact counterfeit before doing so.

When will I hear about the detained goods?

Once Customs has given the importer the opportunity to forfeit the goods it will send you (or more usually our firm as representative) a letter identifying the importer and, usually, the source of the infringing goods. The letter will advise whether or not the importer has consented to forfeit the goods.

What happens if the importer has not agreed to forfeit the goods?

If the goods have not been forfeited, there is a 10 day working period (extendable to 20 working days in limited circumstances) in which you can try to get the importer to forfeit the goods. If the importer doesn’t agree, or if they cannot be contacted, then the goods may be released to the importer – unless you institute legal proceedings.

What can I do to get the importer to forfeit the goods?

Usually when notice is received that the goods have not been forfeited, we will seek your instructions to send a “cease and desist” letter to the importer demanding immediate forfeiture and payment of a contribution to the costs incurred by you. In the majority of cases, we are able to convince the importers to forfeit the goods. The goods are then destroyed by the Crown.

Will infringing goods still come into New Zealand even when I have filed a Customs Notice?

Customs obviously cannot search every box in every shipment entering New Zealand. Inevitably, a certain quantity of counterfeit or infringing goods will always get past the border even if Notices are lodged with Customs. However, Customs do have a database of previous infringers and are particularly helpful when advised of suspected suppliers and/or importers.

How can I assist Customs?

It is helpful to provide Customs of details of where genuine products are being made and who is entitled to import them. This will ensure they do not hold up genuine product by mistake. Also if you have reason to suspect a particular company is importing infringing products, or you know of a particular manufacturer making or selling counterfeit products overseas, you should provide those details to Customs as they may assist Customs in identifying shipments from or by known infringers

How effective is a Customs Notice?

In our experience, approximately 80% of importers will agree to forfeit upon detention by Customs. We also find that the Notices have a deterrent effect – importers review the Notices lodged and avoid importing goods where the requisite Notices are in place. Over the last 10 years, Customs Notices have proven to be a very cost effective and efficient means of stopping the importation of infringing goods into New Zealand.

Can you lodge Customs Notices overseas?

We are also able to lodge border protection notices in Australia. Customs “Notices of Objection” lodged in Australia operate on basically the same system as in New Zealand.

Where can I find out more information on Customs Notices?

You can find out more by contacting our Litigation Team.