Outside the Afsj Is NOT so Free, Secure or Just? ‘Brexit’, Police and Customs Cooperation, and the Combatting the Sale of Counterfeit Goods

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 656A (University of Glasgow)
Ben Farrand , School of Law, University of Warwick
When considering the far-ranging impacts of the UK’s proposed withdrawal from the European Union, debates usually concern the free movement of workers and access to the internal market, particularly for financial services.  Yet there are further implications of ‘Brexit’ for intellectual property law and policy.  While there are immediate implications for UK membership of the EU Trademark and access to the Digital Single Market, one issue that has not yet been considered is the impact on intellectual property enforcement that results from the UK leaving the AFSJ. Counterfeit goods, which are imitations that misrepresent the origin, seller and quality of items, can pose significant health and safety risks as well as causing economic harm to economic undertakings.  Whereas the EU Customs Union has helped to prevent the mass importation of counterfeit goods in industrial-sized shipments, the growth of online sales of counterfeit goods made directly to the purchaser, and delivered in small consignments, has made identifying and seizing goods in transit much more difficult.  As a result, successful seizures have relied upon information sharing and cooperation between national police forces and customs officials.  This presentation seeks to address the implications of Brexit and withdrawal from the AFSJ for the UK’s access to information, capacity and competence to cooperate with EU-based agencies, and subsequently their ability to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods.  It shall determine the likelihood of continued cooperation in light of different relationships with the EU,  from the European Economic Area, the EU Customs Union,  to  ‘hard Brexit.’