When a trademark or copyright registration issues, it is often a good practice to record the registration with U.S. Customs & Border Protection. By recording a registration with Customs you can inexpensively enhance your infringement policing efforts. Recording a registration permits Customs inspectors to detain and potentially seize infringing products at the 317 U.S. ports of entry. While not all shipments are inspected, the potential to have infringing products stopped at the border is a valuable tool in your intellectual property policing toolbox. When a Customs inspector identifies a shipment of potentially infringing products, the shipment is detained, the trademark or copyright owner is notified, and, upon confirmation the products are unauthorized, the products may be seized.
If you anticipate that products associated with your trademark or copyright may be manufactured overseas and imported into the U.S. without your authorization, Customs recordation is recommended.
Please be aware that private businesses not associated with government agencies are using publicly available trademark records to solicit Customs “recordation” fees. We have not yet seen this practice with copyright registrations, but it is likely that copyright related solicitations may appear soon. Some of these businesses do not provide the stated Customs recordation services and others may provide the initial recordation service, but at an exorbitant price and without future renewal reminders or support services.
OW&E can take care of Customs recordation as part of the firm’s brand protection services, including tracking renewal deadlines so the recordation will not lapse. If you choose to engage our services for Customs recordation, we will also work with Customs to verify unauthorized shipments and help educate Customs inspectors to recognize your intellectual property. Please contact an attorney at OW&E if you would like more information.
– Contributed by Linda Joy Kattwinkel