A Guideline to Mauritius Customs Protection
Updated: Jul 18, 2022
In the current international economic environment, where trade in goods and services is no longer confined to one specific country or region, it is crucial for rights holders to protect their Intellectual Property Rights (“IPRs”) at the import and export stage. To this end, Mauritian laws provides for a reliable framework for the protection of IPRs through corresponding customs protection measures. The customs protection in Mauritius is governed by the Customs Act 1988.
The following is a brief introduction to the framework of customs protection of IPRs in Mauritius.
Introduction to MRA Customs and customs protection
The Mauritius Revenue Authority Customs (MRA Customs) is the primary authority responsible for safeguarding the Mauritian borders against counterfeiting and piracy.
The owner or authorised user of a patent, industrial design, trademark, or copyright may apply to MRA to suspend the clearance of any goods imported or being exported on the grounds that their rights relating to patent, industrial design, trademark, or copyright are being or are likely to be infringed.
Customs suspends the release of goods
When MRA Customs identifies goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights for which an application for customs action has been field, it suspends the release of the goods and detains them. The right holder is informed of the suspension and he/she or their authorised representative is invited to inspect the detained goods.
The term of the suspension is 10 working days, which may be extended by a maximum of 10 working days. In the case of refrigerated goods, the term is of 3 working days only.
Within these terms, the right holder must assess whether or not the detained goods infringe their IPRs. In the affirmative, the IPR holder shall inform the MRA customs in writing to claim the infringement in order for the necessary legal actions to be taken. Where no written objection is submitted within the prescribed delays, the MRA Customs may release the detained goods.
Application for customs protection
1. Who may apply?
· The holder / owner of the right
· An authorised user
· A Nominated Representative of the right-holder
2. Customs protection applications may be based on:
· Industrial design
3. Requirements for application
· Proof of ownership or authorisation of the IPR
· Certificate of registration of the IPR valid within the territory of Mauritius granted by the Industrial Property Office
· Power of Attorney, duly (notarised and apostilled)
· A (minimum) bank security amounting to 20,000 Mauritian rupees
· Any catalogue, pictures, or samples of genuine products for identification purposes (if possible)
o Certain goods are prohibited/restricted by local law.
4. Duration of application
The validity period of an application for suspension is for a maximum of two years, renewable thereon.
From the date of filing of the application at the MRA customs, border protection is usually obtained within 7 working days.
The process in its entirety, including collating the relevant documents prior to the application, may take around 2 months.
INLEX MEA Customs Protection Service
According to the current legislation in force in Mauritius, customs protection and the appropriate remedial actions are determined by the Customs Act 1988 and practices of the MRA customs. The significance of the customs filing is therefore not only to facilitate the detection of counterfeit products by customs, but also to give stronger protection measures and more facilities to the right holder to assert their rights.
Our Team at INLEX MEA have the appropriate expertise to assist with comprehensive solutions for the customs protection of IPRs at trade borders. Our Team is well equipped to assist applicants with the filing of customs protection applications at the MRA Customs. Please feel free to contact us for more information and our applicable fees.
Authors: Ashna Ramdin & Zijie Qian