Intellectual property (IP) owners recognize the value of registering their trademarks and copyrights with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) due to the protections it affords for their brands. What is lesser known, and widely underutilized, is a recordation of these assets with US Customs to obtain additional safeguards with respect to knock offs coming in from foreign shores.
US Customs has its own system for trademark and copyright holders to record their USPTO obtained registrations to protect against unauthorized importations of infringing or counterfeit goods. It is not automatically done by virtue of registering with USPTO however, and must be done by a registrant or their attorney through US Customs itself.
Once it’s been recorded, there are several benefits a registrant may obtain, including that US Customs can:
- Detain suspected shipments,
- Seize counterfeit/infringing goods, and
- Notify you of any suspect shipments and request your approval of the imports prior to releasing it to the importer
Where seizures occur, US Customs will provide you with the name of the manufacturer and the importer, along with a description of the merchandise, country of origin and quantity seized.
A separate application is required for each recordation sought and the filing fee for doing so is $190. Once recorded, protection is good for 20 years and becomes effective on the date the application is approved.
With so much protection available at the border with US Customs as a trade partner, an investment in this recordation is well worth the security.
If you have questions about this process, feel free to send me a message using the Contact form.