Enforcing intellectual property (ip) rights has become the hallmark area to which a majority of seizures stem from. It is vital that companies go through the procedures for registering their trademarks, copyrights, etc with Customs. There is a balancing act that must be accounted for, the rights of the owner protecting its exclusive property interest versus any user (whether innocent or not) who is subject to intellectual property infringement. However, if Customs is unaware as to the “marks” (i.e. they are not registered) goods may come in that violate a true owners ip rights. Thereafter it is too late; the damage has bee done, and consumer attitude towards a product becomes compromised.

Once an ip right is registered with Customs, all ports are given notice as to detain merchandise that is believed to be infringing. Customs will then give the ip holder with the opportunity to confirm or deny that a violation has occurred. Further, Customs will allow the potential infringer with the opportunity to remedy the situation by getting permission from the ip holder to import the goods. Absent this permission the violator will be fined and the merchandise subject to forfeiture actions. Further, the ip holder will know the identity of the violator who may sue them individually or keep tabs on their importing activity.

It is recommended that you be careful as to any product you import. Failure to take precautions will leave the importer subject to liability and severely tarnish your business.

Happy Importing 🙂

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