Yet Another Reason to Record your Trademark or Copyright with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

TshirtCo-Authored by Jennifer Diaz and Kristina Hernandez-Tilson, an attorney in Miami, Florida, practices in state and federal court, litigating matters of civil and administrative law. 

Whether you are importing goods to the United States, or are a U.S. trademarks or copyright owner, there is a new law on the books that should be of interest to you, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA), which was signed into law on February 24, 2016.  TFTEA, a bipartisan piece of legislation, is comprehensive in scope. In this Article, we will look specifically at Sections 302 through 311, the section on “Import-Related Protection of Intellectual Property Rights” (IPR). The TFTEA highlights the fact that CBP treats IPR as a priority trade initiative.

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Why Pre-Compliance is a MUST

Compliance Blue Marker

If the thought of monetary penalties, shipment delays, detentions or seizures of merchandise keep you up at night, then this article is for you.  First, it’s quite easy to establish a U.S. company, pick (what you hope is) a terrific customs broker, file Form 5106 with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to request your importer number, pick a surety (there are many, your broker will likely sway you to their favorite) and WALLAH! Right? Wrong. No one sits you down during this process to say, wait, importing can be great, but, this is also a LOT of responsibility. Your company (and SOMETIMES even YOU) have liability and a burden when importing. This article will walk you through YOUR burden as an importer, how CBP can question your imports, and how penalties can ensue and what you should be doing about it, in advance!

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