U.S. Customs and Border Protection has extended from Oct. 28 to Nov. 15 the comment period on a proposal to create a procedure for the disclosure of protected information to a trademark owner when goods bearing suspected counterfeit trademarks have been voluntarily abandoned.

If CBP suspects that an imported article bears a counterfeit mark it may detain the article for up to 30 days, during which time it may disclose limited importation information to the owner of the mark if doing so would help determine whether the mark is counterfeit. However, this disclosure does not occur when goods are voluntarily abandoned, which is what often happens to the low-value shipments that are increasingly typical of e-commerce transactions if CBP detains them on suspicion of an IPR violation.

To address this emerging enforcement problem, CBP is proposing to add a new paragraph to 19 CFR 133.21 under which it would disclose the same comprehensive importation information provided to trademark owners when goods have been seized in cases where goods have been voluntarily abandoned if it suspects that (a) the successful importation of those goods would have violated U.S. trade laws prohibiting imports of goods bearing counterfeit marks and (b) disclosure would assist CBP in its IPR enforcement mission. Such information includes the date of importation, the port of entry, a description of the goods, the quantity and country of origin of the goods, and the name and address of the manufacturer, exporter, and importer.

For more information on IPR-related trade issues and/or the impact of this proposed rule, please contact customs and trade attorney Lee Sandler at (305) 894-1000.

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