Joint U.S.-EU Guidelines on Helping Authorities Identify IPR Infringing Goods
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has posted to its Web site a brief set of guidelines on how companies can establish a product identification training guide, which “is one of the most effective ways to help personnel from [CBP] and customs administrations in the [European Union] … to identify counterfeit and piratical goods in order to prevent them from entering the U.S or the EU.”
The guidelines state that an effective manual should be brief and simple and, to the extent practical, include the following information. It should also be dated and updated whenever there are significant changes, such as new registrations, contacts or product lines.
• Company Information – introductory information; brands, marks, copyrights, patents or any other intellectual property right the company owns; and names, addresses, phone and fax numbers and email addresses of company contacts who can provide immediate assistance on administrative and technical matters to customs personnel regarding suspect merchandise
• Registration and Recordation Information (U.S.) – Patent and Trademark Office and Copyright Office registration numbers, CBP recordation numbers and International Trade Commission case number for exclusion orders
• Registration and Recordation Information (EU) – national application for action registration numbers, community application for action numbers and member states for which the application applies; registered national trademarks, international trademarks, design rights, international design rights, copyright and related rights, patents, supplementary protection certificates, designations of origin, geographical indications, geographical designations for spirits or wine and plant variety rights; and registered Community trademarks (OHIM), design rights, plant variety rights, geographical designations of origin or geographical indications
• Product Information – physical characteristics of genuine articles (security devices, hang tags, logos, stitching, placement, packaging, accompanied documents and other information that would help a customs officer to readily distinguish a legitimate article from one that is suspect), clearly labeled photos comparing genuine and suspect articles, customs value, tariff heading, release and/or production dates or ranges of dates for specific styles, models or product lines, and product catalogue or Web site that provides pictures/images and model/style numbers
• Product Manufacture and Distribution – manufacturers and/or shippers of genuine goods, countries of manufacture of genuine goods, names and addresses of importers and/or licensees of genuine goods, modes of transportation of imported genuine goods, ports of entry/ customs office of genuine goods, and channels of distribution
• Violation Information – names and addresses of known violators, distributors, intermediaries, transporters, importers, consignees or exporters; known transport routes and means of transport; countries and/or cities of manufacture of suspect goods; channels of distribution; lowest threshold value; specific items (styles, brands, patterns) that are copied the most; specific accompanying documents that were different or missing; and physical characteristics of suspect articles
In addition, the following verbiage must be included inside the front cover of the product identification training guide.
The opinions expressed herein are those of the right owner and do not necessarily reflect the position of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Decisions as to whether or not merchandise should be detained or seized for infringing protected intellectual property rights are to be made in accordance with established procedures by CBP personnel at the appropriate management level of the concerned field office. CBP personnel who have questions arising from this product identification training material or manual should call the IPR Helpdesk at 562-980-3119, ext. 252, or the IPR and Restricted Merchandise Branch, Regulations and Rulings at (202) 325-0020.”