The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is now authorized to share information with intellectual property right (IPR) holders for the limited purpose of determining whether certain goods bear counterfeit marks. These changes provide a pre-seizure procedure for disclosing information to the right holders who have recorded their trademarks with CBP and are now suspected of being victims of counterfeiting. The right holder may be provided photographs and/or a sample of merchandise or retail packaging for examination. The information will include serial numbers, universal product codes and stock keeping unit (SKU) numbers appearing on the imported goods/packaging, whether in alphanumeric or other formats.
Customs modified its disclosure rules to resolve a conflict with the Trade Secrets Act, which forbids a government official from sharing protected information. Due to the recent development of sophisticated techniques to make and import counterfeit products, it has become more challenging for Customs to determine whether certain products bear counterfeit marks without the assistance of right holders. Customs will monitor the effectiveness of the new policy to determine whether it needs further revision. SEMA encourages companies to record their trademark and copyright registrations with Customs in order to take advantage of this new enforcement tool.
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