Box and Prohibition Sign - Sized for SiteDid you know you can use your federally registered copyrights and trademarks to block the importation of infringing goods from entering the U.S.?  In 2012 the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) made 22,848 intellectual property rights seizures with a manufacturer’s suggested retail value of $1.26 billion.  Could this be affecting your business?

Most intellectual property owners do not know is how easy it is to put the U.S.  government and, more specifically, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to work for you enforcing your intellectual property rights.  In that regard, here’s what you need to do to have the CBP block the importation of goods that would infringe upon your federal copyrights and trademarks:

Step 1: Register Your Copyrights and Trademarks.

First, although you may have rights in a copyright or trademark prior to registering the same, the CBP will only enforce registered copyrights and trademarks.  In short, the CBP cannot become the arbiter of common law rights in intellectual property.  Thus, if you wish to use the CBP to block the importation of infringing goods you must Register your Copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office and your Trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Step 2: Record Your Registrations with the CBP.

Once registered, have your copyright and trademark registrations Recorded with the CBP through their e-Recordation system.  Once recorded, the CBP uses technology to identify and seize suspected infringing goods stopping them from entering the U.S. marketplace.

Step 3: Alert the CBP of Known Violations of Your Rights.

Lastly, once your copyrights and trademarks are recorded with the CBP, if you discover any violations of your rights by specific importers you can easily notify the CBP thereof by and through use of their e-Allegations system.  Simply have the CBP notified of a potential infringement situation and they will keep a sharp eye out for the same so that they can, in addition to their normal systems, keep a sharp eye out to seize any counterfeit goods before they enter the U.S. marketplace.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this or any related topics Contact Us at The Trademark Company. We are always here to help.