If counterfeit products thought to infringe on intellectual property rights are found at customs, procedures (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.
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.
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.
At customs, products cannot be reimbursed at their purchased prices. Please contact the shopping site etc. where the product was purchased.
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.
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.