U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reposted its guide on how businesses and rights owners can partner with CBP to increase enforcement and protection of their intellectual property rights.
CBP is authorized to detain and seize counterfeit and pirated goods as well as enforce court orders against patent-infringing products at U.S. borders. CBP uses a multi-layered, risk-based strategic approach to enforce IPR and to mitigate the risk of fraudulent shipments coming into the U.S. CBP collaborates with other federal agencies, foreign governments, and the trade community to protect U.S. innovation and competitiveness, issues civil fines and, where appropriate, refers cases to other law enforcement agencies for criminal investigation.
4 Ways IP Owners Can Work with CBP to Enforce IPR
CBP states that partnering with rights owners and industry organizations is critical to CBP\'s success and provides the following four ways rights owners of patents, copyrights, and trademarks can work to ensure maximum IPR enforcement with CBP:
Properly Record IP with CBP Through e-Recordation
Trademarks and copyrights that have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or U.S. Copyright Office can be recorded with CBP to maximize their protection. Establishing a record through e-Recordation provides CBP with the information necessary to determine when imported goods are infringing on rights. The benefits of e-Recordation include:
•Making IPR information available at ports to help CBP personnel with infringement determinations;
•Eliminating paper applications and the need for supporting documents; and
•Allowing rights owners to upload images of their protected rights.
Submit Information on Infringing Shipments or Conduct Through e-Allegations
CBP encourages businesses and rights owners to submit allegations or information on infringing conduct or shipments of infringing goods being imported into the U.S. to CBP. CBP uses this information to target such activities and may refer cases for criminal prosecution.
Information submitted through CBP\'s online reporting system, e-Allegations, is disseminated to the appropriate office or port of entry for investigation. Submissions can be anonymous and may include photos and other documentation. CBP states this information-sharing tool improves its enforcement of IPR at the border.
Produce Product Identification Guides to Help CBP Make Infringement Decisions
CBP states that counterfeit and pirated goods are becoming more sophisticated, making it more difficult for CBP to distinguish legitimate goods from fake goods. Therefore, CBP enforcement employs a risk-based targeting model to determine shipments most likely to contain infringing goods. Information shared with CBP helps identify infringing shipments while facilitating legitimate trade. To assist CBP make infringement determinations at port, CBP states that rights owners can produce product identification guides. The guides will be placed on CBP\'s internal websites and linked to the e-Recordation system to provide extensive information about recorded IPR to the field to assist with infringement determinations
CBP notes that an effective guide should be brief and should include the following: (i) information about the company; (ii) IP owned by the company; (iii) contact information; (iv) registration number; (v) recordation number; (vi) U.S. International Trade Commission exclusion case number (for patents); (vii) physical characteristics of the product; (viii) photos of genuine and suspect versions of the goods; (ix) manufacturing information; and (x) an appropriate legal disclaimer.
Provide Product Identification Training to CBP Personnel at Ports of Entry
CBP notes that many companies also provide product identification training to CBP personnel at ports of entry, such as officers and import specialists who will actually inspect shipments and look for IPR infringements. Requests to hold product identification training should be directed to the Assistant Port Director for Trade at each port of entry.
Here\'s a CBP web site for contact information.