Abady Law Firm, P.C. – Customs and Import/Export Attorney Blog

Learn the Basics of Customs and International Trade Policy and Procedure

Archive for December, 2012

Customs Attorney: Customs and Border Protection: Intellectual Property Enforcement

As a Customs attorney I find it surprising that intellectual property holders do not take advantage of Customs and Border Protection’s (“CBP”) ability to protect their intellectual property (“IP”). CBP is authorized to search all imports/exports and exclude, detain, and/or seize products that are counterfeit or otherwise infringing on the intellectual property of the IP holder. The way to gain the assistance of CBP is to utilize their Intellectual Property Rights Recordation System

CBP’s record system is separate and apart from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Copyright office filing. In order to maximize the IP holder’s rights at the border they should record with CBP via the e-Recordation system. CBP has provided some benefits of e-Recording:

  • Making intellectual property rights information available at the ports to help CBP personnel with infringement determinations.
  • Eliminating paper applications and the need for supporting documents.
  • Allowing rights owners to upload images of their protected rights.

Additonally, IP holders can work with Customs in order to help them identify infringers. Businesses and rights owners are encouraged to submit allegations of infringing shipments or conduct to CBP. CBP then uses this information to locate such activity. Further, IP holders can provide CBP with e-guides for detecting infringing goods. Lastly, IP holders can initiate training sessions to actual CBP inspectors at troublesome ports of entry.

To find trademark and copyright records one can access http://iprs.cbp.gov/. I urge IP holders to take advantage of these enforcement opportunities to ensure quality control of their IP rights. One can contact a Customs attorney who can guide an IP holder in maximizing the enforcement of their IP rights with CBP.

You may call us at 347-512-9007 for more information on your international trade and customs issues.

Import Export Attorney: Ghana and Gold: Possible Scams

As an attorney who focuses on import and export laws I have worked with clients who have been approached online by Ghanaians at a dating website or other forum offering a chance to purchase gold. One must take a look at the totality of circumstances in determining whether these are legitimate. More than a majority of these are scams in an effort to con persons into wiring money and never seeing a return. The U.S. Embassy has posted helpful information on this topic here: http://ghana.usembassy.gov/romance_scam.html.

If you have questions or concerns around the validity of potential gold offerings, speaking with an attorney who has handled these types of matters can save you from being scammed.

You may call us at 347-512-9007 for more information on your international trade and customs issues.

Customs Attorney: Commercial Invoice and Footwear

In general, a commercial invoice should provide enough information for a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to determine if the goods being imported are admissible, and if so, what the correct rate of duty should be applicable based on its Harmonized Tariff Number.

Customs does not provide a specific format for a commercial invoice, however they do provide the elements that should be on an invoice in 19 C.F.R. 141.85.

At a minimum, an invoice should:

1. Describe the item clearly

2. Give the quantity

3. State the value (either price paid, or estimated value based on other considerations.) Give both the value in foreign currency and U.S. dollars

4. Country of Origin (where the item was made)

5. Where it was purchased

6. Name of the business or person selling the merchandise

7. Location of the business or person selling the merchandise

8. Name and address of business or person buying the merchandise, and if different from the importer

9. The U.S. address of the person or business the goods are being shipped to

In addition, Footwear is unique and Customs requires more detail; these additional requirements may be viewed at 19 C.F.R. 141.89.  The additional invoice one must include with all their shipments is the “Interim Footwear Invoice.” A sample of a interim footwear invoice can be found here.