USCBP and Pre-Seizure Procedures Gives 7 Day Notice Window to Importers to Prevent Counterfeit Trademark Seizure

On April 24th, 2012 published an Interim Rule which is still in place today. The changes in procedures provide a pre-seizure procedure or dentention for disclosing information about imported merchandise suspected of bearing a counterfeit mark for the limited purpose of obtaining the right holder’s assistance in determining whether the mark is counterfeit or not.

In addition, CBP is putting in place a procedure that provides the importer the opportunity to demonstrate to CBP, within seven (7) days (exclusive of weekends and holidays) of a notice of detention, that the article in question does not bear a counterfeit mark, before releasing information to the right holder. Only absent such a demonstration by the importer will information, images, or samples be shared with the right holder. This procedural safeguard is intended to achieve the policy goals of the NDAA in a manner consistent with maintaining the flow of information to the government, fostering competition, keeping prices low, and maintaining consumer choice. Information that is covered by the Trade Secrets Act and obtained from an importer, including the importer’s name and place of business, manufacturer’s identity, supply chain, and other confidential commercial or financial information, if disclosed, could provide insights into the importer’s business operations, processes, style of work, and income, all inuring to the importer’s competitive disadvantage. For example, product coding, such as serial numbers, and SKUs often incorporates information about where and when a product was manufactured, as well as other information that could allow one to identify information about the manufacture of the product. It is likewise possible that such information could directly or indirectly reveal the identity of wholesalers, exporters, or other parties in the importer’s supply chain and the timing and pricing of the transactions involving those entities. Such confidential commercial or financial information, if not properly protected, could be used by competitors to an importer’s economic disadvantage, potentially resulting in reduced competition and consumer choice with attendant increases in prices.

Although this is an Interim Rule it became effective immediately because USCBP determined that there was an immediate need to address vulnerabilities in our military and government procurement processes as well as an immediate need to interdict goods bearing counterfeit marks that pose health and safety risks to the American public.    2012-9762

We have 25 years of experience in filing petitions with US Customs to seek the return of  seized merchandise for alleged IPR violations. As per this article, it is URGENT that an importer contact an experienced attorney within this 7 day window of opportunity to provide feedback to USCBP that may prevent a trademark seizure from taking place. We also will help file petitions to remit any additional penalties which may be assessed in this situation. We may be able to offer you an attorney fee arrangement based partially on a fixed initial retainer and partially on a contingency basis.

The Law Offices of R. H. Robbins assists companies and individuals when they have had their merchandised seized by Customs and Border Patrol.  Please contact us by telephone at: (954) 946-8130 OR by email to rose at roserobbins.com  OR by submitting the simple form below to set up a free confidential consultation to see if we may be of assistance to you in the return of your merchandise or the remission of any assessed penalty.