An important mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a
branch of the Department of Homeland Security, is to detect and seize
merchandise entering the United States that violates existing IPR.
Once you have recorded your trademark or copyright with the PTO or
Copyright Office, you should consider taking the next step: register it
with the CBP. Trademarks and copyrights may be recorded for $190.00
each. Customs enters the recordation into a centralized database
accessible by all field offices. Customs will detain or seize
merchandise that is counterfeit, confusingly similar, or possible
pirated material. It will notify the IPR owner about the right to
pursue enforcement actions. Customs also has the right to pursue such
actions on its own.
The system is a little different for patents. Patents are not
recordable with CBP because import infringement issues are under the
jurisdiction of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
Suspected infringement cases are taken to the ITC, which issues an
exclusion order if there is a proven violation. Customs will then
enforce the exclusion order.
For more information on Customs enforcement, visit: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/import/commercial_enforcement/ipr/.