Many U.S. brand owners already work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to keep counterfeit products out of the U.S. CBP examines cargo at more than 300 ports of entry into the U.S., and seizes goods that appear to infringe registered trademarks and copyrights on record with CBP. CBP also has the authority to seize any goods entering the United States, even if the goods are not intended for the U.S. market and the shipment is simply passing through the United States to another country. CBP can also issue monetary fines, request that the U.S. Attorney’s Office criminally prosecute the offenders, and/or coordinate and participate in raids on international counterfeit production facilities.

As of January of this year, owners of Canadian registrations for copyrights and trademarks can now take advantage of similar protections for goods traveling into Canada by recording their intellectual property with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The recordation process involves filing a Request for Assistance (RFA) with the CBSA. If suspected counterfeit goods are discovered at the border, the CBSA uses the information contained in the RFA to contact the rights holder to determine if the goods are authorized. The CBSA does not charge a fee for filing the RFA, and there is no limit to the number of registered marks that can be included in a single RFA. RFAs are valid for two years and can be renewed in two year increments.

This article appeared in the February 2015 issue of MarkIt to Market. To view our past issues, as well as other firm newsletters, please click here.