CBSA Can Help Protect Your Intellectual Property Rights

Most counterfeit goods are produced abroad and CBSA has established a process where intellectual property rights (IPR) owners or holders can ask CBSA to detain suspected counterfeit goods encountered at the border while the IPR holds and/or owners seek legal redress.

What Are Intellectual Property Rights?

Intellectual Property Rights allow people to protect their ideas for a certain period of time. They allow for people and businesses to have a competitive advantage over their competition by providing them with an incentive to create new ideas and to benefit from those ideas.

This becomes very important in the world of business and especially international trade. Below is an explanation on what you can do to protect your Intellectual Property Rights on an international stage.

How To Apply For A Request For Assistance

If you are a Canadian trademark or geographical indication rights holder or owner and you are registered with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) you are eligible to file a Request for Assistance.

These RFAs assist CBSA to identify and detain suspected shipments containing counterfeit trademark goods.  If suspect or counterfeit goods are found within a commercial shipment CBSA will use the information in the RFA application to contact the appropriate IPR holder and inform them of the details they need to pursue a civil court action.

How The Request For Assistance Works


  • Ensure that your IPR is registered with CIPO and your information is up to date. To file click here.
  • Complete your RFA and submit it to CBSA for processing
  • Wait for confirmation of enrolment and approval letter outlining program specific details
  • Once approved, if suspected or counterfeit goods are intercepted by the CBSA, you will be notified and given the opportunity to take appropriate action.
  • The RCMP will be responsible for leading any criminal investigations related to commercial scale counterfeiting and piracy. 

If you have any questions or concerns with protecting your Intellectual Property Rights, please contact one of our experienced Trade Advisors at Pacific Customs Brokers for assistance.

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About Author
Jan Brock

Jan Brock joined Pacific Customs Brokers in 2015 as a Senior Trade Advisor. She retired from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in 2015 after serving more than 37 years. Jan started her career with CBSA as a summer student in 1976 and worked part-time until she graduated from U.B.C. with a Bachelor of Education Degree in 1980 . Shortly after graduating from U.B.C. Jan worked full time as an inspector with CBSA and within three years was promoted to Superintendent. She served some time in the Regional Operations office as an Operations Review Officer before she was promoted to Chief of Operations first at the Customs Mail Centre, then in the Metro District as the Commercial Chief and ending her career as a Chief at Pacific Highway Commercial Operations where she served as Chief from 1992 to 2015. During her career she was a member of the Customs Drug Team and a trainer in the National Enforcement Program. Jan also served as the Regional Coordinator Officer Powers and Use of Force for the Pacific Region. Jan served on many Commercial Program Reviews and committees both national and regional during her career and possesses an expansive knowledge of importing and exporting into and from Canada.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.