October 2015

CBP Offers IP Owners Better Tools for Combating International Counterfeits

The Licensing Journal
Thomas W. Brooke

The harm that knock-off goods pose for companies is obvious. Counterfeit clothing, software, food, and pharmaceuticals not only hurt business, but can pose a danger to consumers. There have been documented cases of U.S. consumers ingesting counterfeit (unregulated) pharmaceuticals, resulting in death or serious bodily injury. Other harmful side effects of counterfeit goods include: lost tax revenue; proliferation of underground economies that serve as hotbeds for other illegal activity, including violence; and the unchecked use of child labor in order to produce unsanctioned goods.

However, in the near future, intellectual property owners will have the benefit of a permanent federal rule that provides for the disclosure of information essential to blocking counterfeit goods from invading the domestic market. The rule, covering certain intellectual property rights enforced at the border, goes into effect October 19, 2015. One relatively simple and inexpensive tool will now be available to copyright and trademark owners. Property owners will be able to “Post the Ports” by recording trademark and copyright registrations online with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

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