The European Parliament has approved new laws which will extend the powers of EU customs authorities to seize counterfeit goods merely travelling through the EU.

Currently, following the ruling in the joined cases of Philips/Nokia in 2011, customs authorities may only seize fake goods which are likely to be placed on the market in the EU.  This means that they have no powers in relation to goods merely in transit through the EU on their way to a non-EU country.  Customs authorities can inspect these goods, but must let them go, with the risk that they will eventually be diverted back into Europe.

The European Parliament recently approved new laws (contained in an EU Directive) which will allow customs authorities to seize goods travelling through the EU destined for non-EU countries.  This is good news for brand owners as it is likely to make it easier for them to prevent counterfeits from entering non-EU markets and being diverted back to the EU.

The Directive has yet to be approved by the European Council (the other legislative body of the EU) which is expected to happen within the next few weeks.  EU Member States will then have 30 months to transpose the Directive into national law.