Poe Sponsors Second Bill to Permit Customs To Share Import Data With IP Rights Holders

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Legislation introduced Dec. 13 in the House would permit customs officials to share information about imported goods with parties whose copyright and trademark rights might be infringed by the imports.

The Foreign Counterfeit Merchandise Prevention Act (H.R. 6654), which was introduced by Rep. Lloyd “Ted” Poe (R-Texas), would amend 18 U.S.C. §1905 to allow personnel of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service to share with IP rights holders:  

  1. any information appearing on the merchandise, including its retail packaging,   
  2. a sample of the merchandise and its retail packaging, or   
  3. digital images of the merchandise and its retail packaging.  


Should goods be seized by customs personnel pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §1201, the bill would permit a range of information to be shared with relevant rights holders, such as descriptions, quantities, countries of origin, and identifying information about manufacturers, exporters, and importers.

Another provision of the proposed legislation would direct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to alert trademark holders when officials suspect that certain “critical merchandise” is counterfeit. The list of “critical merchandise” includes aircraft parts, children's sleepwear, cosmetics, “devices,” drugs food, auto equipment, pesticides, semiconductors, tobacco products, munitions (as defined by 22 U.S.C. §2778(a), and other items deemed to be dangers to health, safety, or national security.

Similar legislation was proposed earlier this year. In March, Poe and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) introduced the Foreign Counterfeit Prevention Act (H.R. 4216) (57 PTD, 3/26/12). The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security held a hearing on the bill (62 PTD, 4/2/12), but it has not progressed.

The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

By Anandashankar Mazumdar  

Text at http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/HR6654Dec13.pdf