Statement of IPIC re RFA Program
Published on May 11, 2018
In January 2015, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) introduced the Request for Assistance (RFA) Program as part of an effort to crack-down on counterfeits crossing Canadian borders, to allow Intellectual Property Rights Holders the opportunity to institute legal action against any importer found through the program, and the ability to arrange for destruction of counterfeit products in a timely manner.
Once an Intellectual Property Rights Holder has submitted their RFA form (There is no government fee for doing so), the CBSA then has the authority to detain any counterfeit good(s) bearing their intellectual properties upon discovery at any point of entry. The Intellectual Property Rights Holder is initially given a 3 day notice to advise if they intend to pursue a civil action and if they respond affirmatively a Notice of Detention is issued/served by the CBSA and the RFA filer has 10 days, (or 20 if an extension is obtained,) in order to institute legal action (or resolve the matter) failing which CBSA will release the goods.
Since the program started, it has been noted that the results obtained on shipments detained at the border on behalf of those that have filed RFA’s have shown that the program can be effective. Furthermore, by detaining goods at the border, they do not have the chance to enter the marketplace where enforcement can be costlier and time consuming. Lastly, Rights Holders are not required to do anything after the submission of the RFA form and are only required to take action once counterfeits are found and only if they agree to do so.
As the program continues, we anticipate the process to be more seamless and fruitful with additional training and developments in the program. Most recently, the CBSA released Notice 17-27 which outlines that the CBSA will accept intelligence on shipments of counterfeit or pirated goods that present a health, safety or security hazard destined for Canada. A link to this program can be found at https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/cn-ad/cn17-27-eng.html
IPIC intends on taking an active role in assisting the CBSA in terms of and requested training and to assist, through its members, with the identification of counterfeit goods. Moreover, a cost-benefit analysis of the program ensures that Rights Holders now have another tool to crack-down on counterfeit or pirated goods. Rights Holders are encouraged to register their Intellectual Properties and submit an RFA with the CBSA. For additional information, please visit the CBSA’s website (https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/forms-formulaires/bsf738-eng.html) or call the CBSA Intellectual Property Rights Program at 1-800-461-9999.
Prepared by the IPIC Anti-Counterfeiting Committee