As part of our Anti-Counterfeiting practice, we provide customs & border protection IP rights enforcement services.

Protecting Intellectual Property (IP) Through Customs Border Protection

Intellectual property (IP) is a valuable business asset that requires diligent protection. U.S. Customs review product imported and exported through the U.S. border. Companies that sell abroad as well as import product from foreign manufacturers often experience counterfeit product issues. However, Customs Border Protection (CBP) can help minimize IP infringement of counterfeit importation into the US through a registration process.

Our intellectual property attorneys can assist with obtaining the most of CBP through registration, and creation of product guides and training guidelines.

How To Utilize Customs Border Protection To Enforce IP Rights

Customs Border Protection offers front line security of goods entering US Borders. However, to maximize protection, companies should be aware of the various options available for enhancing protection of IP rights with CBP.

The following are examples of options for improving IP protection with CBP:

  • e-Recordation of intellectual property rights with CBP

  • e-Allegations submissions of known illegal importation of goods

  • Submission of Product Identification Guides

  • Conduct Product Sessions with CBP personnel

e-Recordation with Customs Border Patrol

U.S. Customs Border Protection offers an Intellectual Property Rights e-Recordation (IPRR) process. Trademark and copyright owners can file an IPRR application with CBP for registering intellectual property rights. Customs Border Protection then reviews product at border entry/exit to help identify infringing product and protect against counterfeiting and piracy.

Electronic recordation of trademark and copyright registration rights with CBP helps personnel at the border better and more easily identify infringing product. e-Recordation allows a rights owner to submit an electronic application with the IP registration information, images of the registration, and contact information of the rights owner. This facilitates CBP review of product and provides a basis for review of potentially infringing counterfeits, as well as a point of contact for reference for questions.

e-Allegation Submissions to Customs Border Patrol

The CBP requests and encourages rights owners, as well as anyone in the know, to submit information of infringing conduct and/or importation. Such information can be submitted anonymously and allows for upload of images. The CBP reviews and investigates the allegations.

Product Identification Guides and Product Training Sessions

Intellectual property rights owners can submit product identification guides and conduct product training sessions with Customs Border Protection. Identification guides are brief manual-type guides to succinctly provide details to CBP personnel for reference when reviewing product. The guides provide additional information to help CBP make proper determination on whether product is legitimate or counterfeit. In addition, product training sessions allow a rights owner to meet with CBP officers and inspectors. The training typically includes detailed information on how to properly identify counterfeit product.

Both the identification guides and training sessions provide valuable information to Customs Border Patrol inspectors. In turn, they are better able to quickly identify infringing goods.

What Does CBP Do with Infringing Goods?

Customs Border Protection is authorized to detain and/or seize product at the border that appears to infringe federally registered IP rights. If the determination is made that the product is in fact counterfeit or pirated, CBP will seize the product and send the IP rights owner details of the seizure. The information provided to the IP owner often contains the importer name, address, and any other details found from review of the shipment. In addition, the destination address and addressee is released along with details on product and amount seized. At the request of an IP rights owner, the CBP can release product to the IP owner for inspection.

Intellectual Property Litigation & Enforcement

Read more about our litigation services at our intellectual property litigation overview page and our business litigation overview page, including Trademark Infringement Litigation, Patent Infringement Litigation, and Copyright Infringement Litigation.

Additional Insights Regarding Customs & Border Protection IP Rights Enforcement

For more information on wow to use Customs & Border Protection to enforce IP rights, see our Legal Insights and Industry Solutions pages.