How To Record A Trademark With Customs And Border Protection
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security allows Trademark owners to provide information to border agents to identify counterfeit products and stop them from entering the country through the Intellectual Property Rights e-Recordation Program.
Why Record a Trademark with U.S. Customs?With unbelievable stories in the news about counterfeit medicines, baby formulas, and other highly sensitive items, it is very clear that counterfeiting is not just about fake Gucci bags anymore.
In fact, the rise of online shopping, online stores like Amazon are facing a horde of counterfeiters selling fake products everywhere. As a result, consumers often leave bad reviews online based on counterfeit products, which ruins the reputation of the manufacturer of the real product and significantly reduces sales in the long term.
When you registering a Trademark with CBP, it allows border agents to hold potentially fake products before letting them into the country for your inspection. To help them identify these products, CBP allows registered Trademark owners to submit a “product identification guide” and even hold a webinar for the government, which is then stored and is available for future inspectors to view whenever it is necessary. As a result, border agents in U.S. ports, know how to spot unauthorized copies of your products.
What Do I Need to Get Started?In order to record a Trademark with CBP, you need:
- A registered Trademark,
- A list of authorized importers and distributors of your products, and
- Product Identification Training Guides & Product Identification Webinars.
Additionally, the program requires a recordation fee.
When it comes to the Intellectual Property Rights e-Recordation Program, it is important to note that these services are not restricted to certain companies of a certain size. Anyone who deals with counterfeit products can register, yet only a fraction of the brands registered in the United States.
Important Considerations- There is a fee of $190 per International Trademark Class, which could be costly for a small business with several registrations in several different classes.
- The recordation with CBP must be renewed at the same time the Trademark is renewed, and failure to do so will result in cancelation of the recordation.
- The renewal fee for recordation of an unexpired Trademark is $80 per International Class and $190 for any additional classes you add to a renewal.
- The renewal fee for recordation of an expired Trademark is $190 per International Class.
Do I Need a Trademark Attorney?The short answer? Yes.
Although there are no disadvantages in registering with CBP, the process can be tricky if you do not have experience, and making mistakes could harm your business significantly. For example, if you input incorrect information into the recordation form, your legitimate imported products could be delayed and flagged at the border until you work with CBP to clear the products. This could result in issues with your partners.