The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) is seeking comments on an interim rule that amends its regulations governing the importation of merchandise bearing recorded trademarks or recorded trade names. That interim rule becomes effective on publication in the Federal Register
Under the new Interim Rule, Customs and Border Patrol field agents now have the authority to share certain information with the IP rights holders when CBP “reasonably suspects that such merchandise and/or packaging may bear a counterfeit mark.” In this scenario, the information CBP would share with the rights holders may be in the form of photographs, samples, retail packaging in their condition as presented to CBP for examination and alphanumeric codes appearing on the goods. The information may also include serial numbers, universal product codes and stock keeping unit (SKU) numbers appearing on the imported merchandise and its retail packaging.
The Interim Rule also sets out creates a pre-seizure process that specifies when and how CBP will disclose information about imported merchandise suspected of bearing a counterfeit mark for the limited purpose of obtaining the rights holder’s assistance in determining whether the mark is counterfeit or not.