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IP Podcast Interview re: IP Customs and Border Enforcement

Today, posted a terrific interview with Timothy Trainer, a recognized expert in customs and border IP protection in the U.S.

Customs and Border Enforcement of Trademarks – Interview with Timothy Trainer -IP Friday – Episode 104 (Runtime approximately 25 minutes)

Trainer is a former president of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) and served on the steering committee of Interpol’s IP crime action group, and is co-author of Customs Enforcement of International Property Rights, 2019 ed.

He presented a number of current and insightful points in the ongoing effort to defend against counterfeit and piracy infiltration at the border.

Here are a few highlights:


U.S. and International IP owners can record directly in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data base their copyright and trademark information which gives U.S. customs officers the information needed to keep fakes from crossing the border.


IP owners should arrange with U.S./CBP ongoing training programs to introduce customs officers to the details of their authentic goods versus infringed goods.


Trainer pointed out that IP owners need to consider that there are 300 ports of entry in the U.S. So, identifying which port(s) counterfeits of their product is most likely to enter the U.S., and coordinate training with the CBP officials at those port(s) is critical.


The 2015 U.S. Trade Facilitation Trade Enforcement Act – expanded customs authority to protect the importation of “circumvention devices” which are used to circumvent the protection of copyright.


The U.S. requires an increased standard of IP enforcement in trade agreements with countries at their borders even if the IP owner has not recorded their copyright or trademark with that country


There has been a downward trend in seizures (more noticeably in Europe lately) because consumers often order directly online and deliveries go through express mail or the international postal system. Seizures of massive amounts of counterfeits in containers has become more rare.


Counterfeiters recognize enforcement trends and adapt

For example, Trainer noted, counterfeiters recognized shipments with 100,000 units are more likely to be seized than if they adjust to 10 containers each holding 10,000 counterfeit units


Trainer emphasized the importance of recording your IP with CBP and brand training for CBP officers.

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Ron Alvarez is an IP investigations and protection consultant and writer in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron has since coordinated the private investigation of international fraud and money laundering cases, as well as IP-related investigations and research involving the four pillars of IP: copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has written a number of articles for various investigative publications, as well as published "The World of Intellectual Property (IP) Protection and Investigations" in November 2021.

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