Strengthening Border Control Measures for Counterfeit Products!

Even when intended for private use, counterfeit products (that infringe on trademark or design rights) sent to Japan by overseas businesses, cannot be imported.

In the Trademark Act and the Design Act revised in May 2021, bringing counterfeit products into Japan via postal mail and other means by overseas businesses s has been defined as infringing on trademark and design rights.With this in mind, the Customs Act was revised in March 2022, disenabling the importation of counterfeit products (that infringe on trademark or design rights) into Japan via postal mail and other means by overseas businesses.

What Happens During an Attempt to Import Counterfeit Products...??

If counterfeit products thought to infringe on intellectual property rights are found at customs, rocedures (qualification procedures) to determine whether they qualify as such will be conducted. Importers will be notified in writing when the qualification procedure begins. Also, if importers claim that products do not infringe on intellectual property rights during the qualification procedure, documents that prove this claim must be submitted. Furthermore, if products qualify as not infringing on intellectual property rights, importation of said goods will be permitted.

About qualification procedures

Products Infringing on Intellectual Property Rights

Products infringing on intellectual property rights violate trademark rights, design rights, patent rights, copyrights, as well as the Unfair Competition Prevention Act. As with guns and drugs, importation of products infringing on intellectual property rights are prohibited by law. A wide variety of items, such as bags, wallets, clothes, shoes, and smartphone cases, are included when it comes to seemingly authentic counterfeit products that copy brandmarks or brand names, characters, and designs.

Items for Private Use...??

Even if for private use, counterfeit products (that infringe on trademark or design rights) sent to Japan through overseas shopping sites or overseas businesses, cannot be imported. Such products will be subject to confiscation at customs.
Please be aware that products may be shipped directly from overseas even when purchased from Japanese shopping sites.

Is it Possible to Get Reimbursed for Confiscated Items…??

At customs, products cannot be reimbursed at their purchased prices. Please contact the shopping site etc. where the product was purchased.

Are There Penalties for Importers ...??

Although crackdown has been strengthened in the recently revised Trademark Act and Design Act, importers are not subject to penalties unless intent of conducting business is proven. However, counterfeit products (that infringe on trademark or design rights) sent to Japan by overseas businesses via postal mail and other means, cannot be imported.Furthermore, if intent of conducting business is proven, importers are subject to the usual penalties.
Penalties: Imprisonment for up to ten years, a fine of up to ten million yen, or a combination of both.

Why is it Wrong to Purchase Products Infringing on Intellectual Property Rights...??

Products infringing on intellectual property rights negatively affect the economy by creating a decrease in profit for companies manufacturing and selling authentic items. These products are said to be the source of funds for criminal organizations. Moreover, when it comes to products infringing on intellectual property rights, safety is not ensured. Including medicine, cosmetics, batteries, and children’s toys―there are many products that put one’s health and safety at risk.

01 “Price” Beware of items that are extremely cheap.
02 “Warranties” Make sure to thoroughly check whether the quality label, care label, and warranty are properly listed.
03 “Materials and Condition” Make sure to thoroughly scrutinize the product’s material, sewing, and packaging.
04 “Reliance” Purchase products at reliable stores that offer warranty services.