U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security, maintains a trademark recordation system for marks registered at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Parties who register their marks on the Principal Register may record these marks with CBP, to assist CPB in its efforts to prevent the importation of goods that infringe registered marks. The recordation database includes information regarding all recorded marks, including images of these marks. CBP officers monitor imports to prevent the importation of goods bearing infringing marks, and can access the recordation database at each of the 317 ports of entry.
CBP devotes substantial resources to target, intercept, seize and forfeit shipments of counterfeit and grey market goods. Owners of trademarks registered on the Principal Register with the USPTO and copyrighted works registered with the United States Copyright Office can duly record these rights with the CBP to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods. Recordation refers to the process by which CBP collects information from the intellectual property owner about their registered trademarks, copyrights, and/or trade names, and then enters that information into an electronic database accessible at all U.S. ports of entry. The CBP then uses that information to actively monitor shipments and prevent the importation or exportation of infringing counterfeit or grey market goods violating intellectual property rights. Recordation is relatively simple and inexpensive, and every business should take advantage of the benefits afforded by this program, which subjects imports of violating items to seizure and forfeiture as prescribed by CBP regulations.
Filing The Recordation Application With CBP
The filing of an application begins the administrative recordation process with the CBP. A separate application is required for each recordation sought. In addition to the application, the business owner must also provide the CBP with:
- a “status copy” (or “certified copy”) of the certificate of registration issued by the USPTO showing title to be in the name of the applicant;
- Five (5) digital images of the protected mark/work in “.jpg” or “.gif” format that accurately depict the right to be protected (each image file must be less than 2MB);
- an affidavit under “best knowledge and belief”; and
- an application fee to cover a copyright recordation and another fee to cover each class for which a trademark recordation is sought.
The Application can be obtained and filed online via the CBP’s Intellectual Property Rights e-Recordation