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CBP Urged to Launch Two Pilot Tests to Improve Border Enforcement of IPR

Monday, June 30, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Industry representatives are urging U.S. Customs and Border Protection to launch within the next 12 months two pilot programs that could improve the border enforcement of intellectual property rights and help ensure that imported goods aren’t unnecessarily delayed due to IPR concerns.

The Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of CBP (COAC) adopted recently a recommendation that CBP conduct a pilot program that would allow filers to voluntarily submit through the Document Image System documentation (e.g., licenses, invoices, contract agreements, photos of outer packages) providing evidence of the authenticity of imported goods. This documentation would be considered by CBP in determining whether to place a hold on a shipment for potential IPR violations and would also assist in infringement determinations when shipments are examined.

COAC also recommended that CBP pilot a program allowing members of the trade to provide intelligence for IPR targeting purposes by voluntarily disclosing violations of the laws prohibiting imports of goods infringing U.S. registered trademarks or copyrights, with assurances that they would not be further targeted. CBP did not act on a similar proposal made during a previous COAC term, and agency officials have not signaled whether they are any more likely to move it forward now.

COAC’s Trade Enforcement and Revenue Collection Subcommittee is also continuing to discuss other IPR-related issues, including a simplified seizure process for violative shipments in the express/small package environment, which is more frequently used to ship counterfeit items, and how importers trusted for IPR compliance that are not a good fit for the C-TPAT or Importer Self-Assessment programs might fit within the trusted trader program CBP is developing.

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