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ABMA Commends Customs for Interim Rule to Expand Info Sharing to IPR Holders in Counterfeit Probes

Monday, April 30, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kelly Sherrard
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[Washington D.C.] – April 30, 2012 – Last week, Victoria Espinel, US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, announced that US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) is now free to share information with trademark owners as part of its efforts to identify potentially infringing products.

The Interim Final Rule was published in the Federal Register implementing Section 818(g) of the National Defense Authorization Act yesterday, and allows "CBP, subject to limitations, to disclose to an intellectual property right holder information appearing on merchandise or its retail packaging that may comprise information otherwise protected by the Trade Secrets Act, for the purpose of assisting CBP in determining whether the merchandise bears a counterfeit mark”.

ABMA President Scott Lynch stated, "ABMA has been advocating for brand owners to obtain more information from the U.S. ports of entry for suspected counterfeit product during the detention and seizure phases including detailed information such as bar codes. This new rule will allow U.S. Customs to expedite the detention and seizure phases and be more effective in enforcing intellectual property rights.”

Customs announced the new rule, citing a provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that permits the agency to share identifying information, such as product codes, serial numbers and manufacturing dates, with the legitimate trademark right holders of potentially counterfeit imports.

With the amendment published, Espinel stated: "Effective immediately, CBP can begin sharing information with trademark holders. This will assist CBP in making independent infringement determinations and provide a badly needed mechanism and authority that will assist in weeding out fake products with counterfeit marks. CBP has informed me that they are issuing guidance to field offices, ports and personnel today. Inspectors at ports of entry will begin implementing this policy immediately.”

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