There are no provisions in the laws of Trinidad and Tobago whereby provisional relief can be given by an administrative body, save as regards "border measures" discussed in the answers to questions 15-19 below.
[Answer 15: Indicate for which goods it is possible to apply for the suspension by the customs authorities of the release into free circulation, in particular whether these procedures are available also in respect of goods which involve infringements of intellectual property rights other than counterfeit trademark or pirated copyright goods as defined in the TRIPS Agreement (footnote to Article 51) Under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court, under Common Law, procedures exist that enable a right holder who has valid grounds for suspecting that the importation of goods infringe any intellectual property right (i.e. rights in respect of copyright and related rights, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents and layout-designs of integrated circuits) to apply to the Court for an order for the suspension by the Customs authorities of the release into free circulation of such goods. The existing judicial procedures cover the evidence required to be furnished, security or equivalent assurance, notice to all interested persons, duration of suspension, indemnification of the importer and of the owner of the goods (and all other persons entitled to indemnification) and right of inspection and information. In addition to the procedures mentioned and referred to above, and in the answers to questions 5 and 10, the procedures set out below exist in Trinidad and Tobago. Section 48 of the Copyright Act 1997 allows the Trinidad and Tobago Customs and Excise to seize imported copies of published copyright material if a notice of objection to importation of the copies has been given to the Comptroller of Customs and Excise. The material that must be subject of such copies is published works or sound recordings. Three copies imported for personal use only by a natural person are exempt from seizure. Section 71 of the Trade Marks Act allows the Trinidad and Tobago Customs and Excise to seize infringing trademark goods imported into Trinidad and Tobago in respect of which a notice of objection has been filed with the Comptroller of Customs and Excise under section 71(A) by the registered owner of a registered trademark. Importation by a natural person for his personal use of not more than five of the same items bearing a registered mark in respect of which notice has been given shall be permitted, except that the Comptroller has a discretion to permit importation of a greater number of items if satisfied that they are for the personal use of that natural person. Where the infringing goods have applied to them or in relation to them a mark that in the opinion of the comptroller is substantively identical with or deceptively similar to the notified trademark and are goods in respect of which the notified trademark is registered or for similar or related goods, the Comptroller shall seize the goods unless he is satisfied that there are no reasonable grounds for believing that there is an infringement. Specify, together with relevant criteria, any imports excluded from the application of such procedures (such as goods from another member of a customs union, goods in transit or de minimis imports). Do the procedures apply to imports of goods put on the market in another country by or with the consent of the right holder and to goods destined for exportation? The Copyright Act allows for the interdiction of such goods where their importation is prohibited by the copyright owner. See the answer given to question 15 above. As to the import of goods put on the market in another country, the Patents Act and Industrial Designs Act provide expressly for national exhaustion. The Trade Marks Act and the Layout-Designs Act do not contain an express provision on the level of exhaustion.]
[Answer 16: Under section 71 of the Trade Marks Act and section 48 of the Copyright Act, the competent authority to suspend the release of the goods is the Comptroller of Customs and Excise. To initiate the seizure of copies or counterfeit goods, the copyright owner, exclusive licensee or the trademark owner, or authorised user must provide a written notice of objection to importation to the Comptroller of Customs together with any prescribed documents. A notice remains in force for two years from the day on which the notice is given. The Comptroller may not seize copies or goods unless the copyright owner, exclusive licensee or the trademark owner or authorised user provides a security to cover the expense that may be incurred by the Comptroller. Under the Trade Marks Act, the Comptroller may seize infringing goods which are manufactured outside Trinidad and Tobago and imported into Trinidad and Tobago and which are subject to the control of the Customs and Excise under the Customs Act. Similarly, under the Copyright Act, the Comptroller may seize copies if a written notice of objection has been given to the Comptroller, and if the copies are imported into Trinidad and Tobago for trade or some other purpose which will prejudicially affect the owner of copyright or neighbouring rights. If goods have a trademark that, in the opinion of the Comptroller, is identical with, or deceptively similar to, a notified trademark and are goods in a class for which the trademark is registered the Comptroller must seize the goods unless satisfied that there are no reasonable grounds for believing that infringement has occurred. Once goods or copies have been seized, the Comptroller must give notice of the seizure, to the objector and the importer or owner, which notice identifies the copies or goods. Under the Trade Marks Act, the notice must also state that the goods or copies will be released to the designated owner or importer unless the objector brings an action for infringement, and gives to the Comptroller notice in writing of the action, within ten (10) working days after the notice, or, if the Comptroller extends that period, within the extended period. Under section 71(L) of the Trade Marks Act, if goods are seized and the Comptroller is satisfied that the use of a trademark is fraudulent, the Comptroller may ask the importer of the goods, or an agent of the importer, to produce any document relating to the goods, and give information about the name and address of the person by whom the goods were consigned to Trinidad and Tobago, and the name and address of the person in Trinidad and Tobago to whom the goods were consigned. Failure to comply with the request is an offence punishable, on conviction, by imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months. If an infringement action has not been started within the required time the Comptroller must release the seized copies or goods to their importer or designated owner. Under the Trade Marks Act and the Copyright (Customs) Regulations 2000, the Comptroller shall release the seized goods to their designated owner at any time before the end of the action period, if new information has come to hand after the seizure which demonstrates that there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the notified trademark or pirated copies were infringed and no action for infringement has been brought by the objector. Under the Copyright Act, the Comptroller may permit the objector and the designated owner sufficient opportunity to inspect and remove a sample of the seized copies. Under the Trade Marks Act the Comptroller may permit the objector and the designated owner sufficient opportunity to inspect the seized goods for the purposes of substantiating any claim. In deciding the infringement case, the court may order that the seized copies or goods be released to their importer or designated owner subject to conditions (if any) that the court considers fit to impose, or it may order that the seized goods be forfeited to the State. Under the Trade Marks Act, if the court decides that there was no infringement and the designated owner, or defendant to the infringement action, suffers loss or damage, the objector may be ordered to pay compensation.]
[Answer 17: Describe provisions governing the length and cost of proceedings. Provide any available data on the actual duration of proceedings and their cost The Trade Marks Act makes provision for border measures as outlined above, but there are no regulations to implement these provisions. The relevant regulations under the Copyright Act only came into force on 14 February 2000 and so there has been insufficient time to provide data. However, as mentioned above, under the Common Law system, judicial measures may be applied in border situations and in this regard the answer to question 8 above, is applicable. How long is the validity of decisions by the competent authorities for the suspension of the release of goods into free circulation? Once the person who has given the notice to the Comptroller has received the notice of suspension of release of goods, he must bring an action for infringement in relation to the seized copies or goods, and give notice of it to the Comptroller within ten working days of the notice from the Comptroller, unless an extension has been obtained. The extension cannot exceed ten working days. The copyright owner must bring an action for infringement within the time specified in the notice or the time limited for bringing an action for infringement whichever is earlier. Under the Trade Marks Act if, three weeks after the action was brought, there is no order of the court preventing the release of the seized copies or goods, then they must be released by the Comptroller. If an infringement action is commenced, the court may order the release of the seized copies or goods at any time it sees fit.]
[Answer 18: Are competent authorities required to act upon their own initiative and, if so, in what circumstances? There is no provision requiring ex officio action by Customs authorities. All actions must be initiated by the copyright owner or exclusive licensee or by the owner (or in some circumstances an authorised user of a trademark) of the industrial property right. Under the Copyright Act, copies may only be seized if the copyright/neighbouring rights owner or exclusive licensee gives a notice of objection to the importation of the copies. Under the Trade Marks Act, the Comptroller may only seize goods if the goods bear a mark identical or similar to a trademark in relation to which a notice of objection has been given. Are there any special provisions applicable to ex officio action? No, there are no such provisions.]
[Answer 19: The Customs authority is not empowered to order remedies for infringement. They can seize infringing copies of counterfeit goods and dispose of those copies or goods if they are forfeited by the importer (Copyright Act) or by a decision of the court. All remedies are decided by the courts.]