CBP Publishes Interim Final Rule on Suspected Counterfeit Marks
On April 24, 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced in the Federal Register an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Interim Final Rule (IFR) which takes effect immediately upon publication. This IFR amends, on an interim basis, CBP regulations pertaining to importations of merchandise bearing recorded trademarks or recorded trade names.
The interim amendment allows CBP, subject to limitations, to disclose to an intellectual property rights holder, information appearing on merchandise or its retail packaging that may comprise information otherwise protected by the Trade Secrets Act, for the purpose of assisting CBP in determining whether the merchandise bears a counterfeit mark. Such information will be provided to the rights holder in the form of photographs or a sample of the goods and/or their retail packaging as presented to CBP for examination and alphanumeric codes appearing on the goods.
The information will include, but not be limited to, serial numbers, universal product codes, and stock keeping unit numbers appearing on the imported merchandise and its retail packaging, whether in alphanumeric or other formats. These changes provide a pre-seizure procedure 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.
This amendment also establishes a procedure to protect importers by requiring that before any information or sample is sent to the right holder, the importer will be provided notice and an opportunity to show that the suspect merchandise is authentic.