KARACHI: A two member bench of Custom Appellate Tribunal (CAT) comprising Abdul Jabbar Qureshi, Member Judicial–I and Abdul Basit Chaudhry, Member Technical–I dismissed an appeal filed by Directorate of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Enforcement (South) against importers of watches, calculators, air-pods, charging cables.

The appellant challenged the Order in Appeal passed by Collector (Appeals) dated 29-4-2022 which allowed the appeal by the importer holding that the  IPRE Directorate has not adopted  the laid down legal procedure.

As per details, the IPRE was approached by stake holders i.e Right Holders representing world famous brands including CITIZEN, RADO, OMEGA,  ROLEX, PATE X PHILIPPE, FRANK MULLER, EMPORIO, ARMANI, FOSSIL,  BEN-B BARBIE, HELLO KITTY, CALVIN KLIENE, APPLE alleging that some importers are importing counterfeit watches etc made in China and thus infringing IP rights.

The Right Holders deposited security/bank guarantee with their complaints and identified the goods/importers at which a hold was placed on the goods imported.

The IPRE South maintained in the appeal that importer and clearing agents were summoned for joint examination but they harassed, misbehaved with the custom officials and examination remained in-conclusive and an incident report was made.

Thereafter examination was finally held and litigation started leading to passing of Order in Original and Order in Appeal, subject matter of appeals before the custom appellate tribunal.

During proceedings Afsheen Aman Advocate represented the appellant while Irfan Shaikh represented the importers.

The counsel for respondents during the course of hearing pointed out that the hold was placed first and then Bank Guarantee was paid. This shows that the mala fide of the department and illegal manner in which hold was placed and later proceedings were initiated.

The bench after hearing the sides reached to the conclusion that the appellate department failed to establish the legality of their actions. The bench holding that in the circumstances there is no need to interfere with the order of Collector of Appeal, the appeal by Directorate of IPR, E (South) was dismissed.