U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”) has the authority to exclude from entry, detain, and/or seize merchandise. Customs’ authority encompasses counterfeit merchandise that Customs determines infringes federally registered and recorded trademarks and copyrights. Customs is empowered by many statutes to seize counterfeit goods in order to protect the intellectual property of registrants of United States trademarks and copyrights. However, the registration of trademarks and copyrights with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or the Copyright Office is not enough to afford this protection — the trademark or copyright must also be recorded with Customs. Irwin IP can help you with Customs’ processes if you want to leverage Customs’ resources while protecting your intellectual property and market position from illegal imports.
Irwin IP can also help you navigate the claims and petitions processes if Customs has detained or seized your merchandise imports. Sometimes Customs gets it wrong and detains lawfully manufactured and imported goods. Irwin IP’s lawyers have experience representing clients in the types of administrative and judicial proceedings that are necessary to get your goods released. Irwin IP’s knowledge of both substantive intellectual property law and Customs’ procedural law gives us, and you, a huge advantage when working to resolve Customs disputes. We will work with you through the entire ordeal of proving to the government that your goods are legitimate, be it through administrative petitions, informal meetings with Customs officers, or court forfeiture proceedings brought by or against the government.
For example, Irwin IP has taken the following actions on behalf of our clients:
Filed dozens of petitions seeking relief from the seizure of legitimate merchandise
Filed claims for seized property, protecting it from summary forfeiture
Secured the conditional release of goods from Customs detention
Met with Customs officials in Washington, D.C. to argue the merits of a Client’s case
Secured consent from a trademark owner for a Client to import goods seized by Customs
Whether you are an importer whose goods have been unlawfully detained and seized, or a brand owner who seeks the assistance of Customs to combat counterfeits or gray market importers, we can help.