Buying genuine branded goods abroad and importing them into the U.S. for sale can be a profitable enterprise. However, because such imports typically do not have the consent of the company that owns the associated intellectual property rights, they are subject to strictly enforced requirements designed to protect those companies. Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg has helped discount retailers and others comply with these requirements and successfully operate in the gray market for decades.


Intellectual property can be a significant component of the value of your goods, so utilizing it effectively and protecting it against potential infringement by competitors are vital. Identifying your IP assets, registering your IP with the relevant federal agencies, and recording your IP with U.S. Customs and Border Protection are good first steps. Distribution and licensing agreements can expand your brand and add value to your portfolio, and effective monitoring of your IP internationally can help protect that value by safeguarding against infringement. If violations are found, rights holders can file suit in court or pursue claims at the International Trade Commission, which can offer faster resolution as well as remedies such as excluding infringing goods from entry into the U.S.

On the other side, importers of branded goods need to secure proper authorization from rights holders and take measures to protect against counterfeit or pirated goods.


Absolute quotas, tariff-rate quotas, and other import restrictions limit the amount of specified products that may be imported into the U.S., either in absolute terms or under normal duty rates. Today they are most often applied to agricultural goods, including sugar-containing products and certain dairy items, as well as articles of iron and steel. These measures can have a significant impact on sourcing decisions and import-related costs.


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