EORI number now mandatory for customs applications in the EU
If customs applications are part of your counterfeiting enforcement strategy, be sure to have your EORI number ready. EORI stands for “economic operators registration and identification number”. It is valid throughout the European Union (EU) and, in Germany, now replaces the German customs numbers. The single identification number across the EU is supposed to streamline processes throughout the EU for economic operators and customs authorities.
When do I need an EORI number?
Businesses and traders must now use the EORI number as an identification number in all customs procedures when exchanging information with customs administrations, in particular when lodging customs declarations or entry and exit summary declarations.
Hence, the EORI number is usually associated with export businesses. Given the nature of the EORI number, the party responsible for the import or export of goods may be in possession of this number and not the IP rights holder or their representative.
However, as of 15 September 2020, due to new Regulation (EU) 2020/1209 of 13 August 2020 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1352/2013 it is now mandatory for right holders and their legal representatives to have an EORI number in order to file:
- A union application for action, meaning a request made to the competent customs department for customs authorities in one member state of the EU to take action with respect to goods suspected of infringing an EU intellectual property right in said member state as well as one or more other member states to take action in their respective member states;
- a national application for action, meaning an application requesting the customs authorities of a member state to take action in that member state;
- a request for extension of the above-referenced applications for action;
- any amendments to an existing application, for example, the simple act of informing customs authorities that an intellectual property right has been renewed.
Why do you now need an EORI number?
It is planned that all customs applications for action in the EU will need to be filed electronically and this is one of the preparatory steps.
What to do now?
There is no reason to panic. As EORI numbers have already been in existence for quite some time, it is very likely that the right holders or legal representatives already have an EORI number. Therefore, it is worth checking internally first if there is a need to apply for one. If you do not have an existing EORI number, apply for one and to have available when it comes to file, update, renew your customs application. That way, you can avoid any negative impact on your enforcement strategy.