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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) have the authority to seize goods for violations of the Customs laws (e.g., Intellectual Property violations) or other laws enforced by CBP. If Customs find a violation, they will seize it and transfer it from the Centralized Examination Station to a bonded warehouse. Throughout this process the importer is charged storage fees, which may need to be paid if Customs agrees to release the goods. Seizures are handles by a department in Customs known as Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures (FP&F). An FP&F paralegal reviews the case and issues a seizure notice to the alleged violator. The seizure notice will give information regarding the identity of the merchandise, the location of the seizure, and citations to legal authorities. Generally, the alleged violator is given options 1) file a petition with customs within 30 days of the issuance date on seizure notice; 2) file an offer in compromise 3) abandon the property; 4) take the matter directly for court action (you need to fill out the seized asset claim form and post a cost bond equal to 10% of the value of the seized merchandise, or $5,000, whichever is lower); or 5) Begin administrative proceedings to forfeit the property.

Our firm assists importers in the filing of administrative petitions if the property is seized and obtaining the release of their property from Customs custody.

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