Trademarks & Copyrights
Intellectual property can be an important part of the value of your product to consumers, so understanding it properly, utilizing it effectively, and protecting it against potential infringement by competitors is vital.
If you're importing or exporting branded goods, you must secure proper authorization from the rights holder and take measures to protect against counterfeit or pirated goods. In recent years CBP has intensified its scrutiny of both imports and exports for IPR violations and increased the number of related detentions, seizures, and penalties. These trends are only expected to accelerate in the future.
On the other side, protecting your own IP can help protect your brand. Distribution and licensing agreements can add your brand and add value to your portfolio, and effective registration, recording, and monitoring of your IP internationally can help protect that value by safeguarding against infringement. If violations are found, rights holders can sue in court or pursue Section 337 infringement 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.
Importers also need to be aware that the value of IP (e.g., royalty payments and licensing fees) is generally included in the dutiable value of their goods and can thus increase the amount of duty that must be paid.
Branded goods can be purchased abroad and lawfully imported into the U.S. by anyone (gray market imports) unless the brand owner takes action to restrict imports. However, brand owners often do not take advantage of restriction opportunities, gray market importers often have difficulty identifying and importing lawfully importable goods, and CBP often disrupts supply chains by questioning whether shipments are licensed, lawful, or counterfeit. Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg has helped brand owners and gray market importers for decades to understand, comply with, and address CBP decision-making on these issues.
Why Use ST&R's IPR Services
Ensure Compliance: CBP can detain, seize, and issue significant fines for importing infringing goods or not properly reporting dutiable IP. Our pre-compliance reviews can be helpful tools to ensure importers aren't committing inadvertent violations.
Defense: ST&R is skilled at helping companies wrongfully accused of IPR infringement in Section 337 cases resolve detentions and seizures and get their goods into U.S. commerce.
Protection against infringing imports: ST&R helps companies properly recorde their IP with with CBP, will then monitor and seize infringing imports on the rights holder’s behalf and can levy monetary penalties against those involved.
Gray market goods: Buying genuine goods abroad and importing them into the U.S. for sale is subject to heightened CBP scrutiny and ST&R advises companies on compliance with applicable rules.