Bill Would Allow Customs to Share Suspected Counterfeit Products With Rights Holders

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Development:New House bill, H.R. 4216, would allow Customs to reach out to rights holders in order to determine the authenticity of suspected counterfeit products.

 

Next Step: House Subcommittee to hold March 28 hearing on both H.R. 4216, and on another IP-related bill, the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act of 2011.

The Foreign Counterfeit Prevention Act would allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection to share with U.S. rights holders samples of suspected counterfeit products in order determine the authenticity of the products.

The bill, H.R. 4216, was introduced March 20 by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) on behalf of himself and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio).

The bill would amend a section of the U.S. law that governs the disclose of confidential information. 18 U.S.C. §1905.

Specifically, the bill would add a subsection making it lawful for Customs to “provide the owner of copyright or a registered mark, or any person who may be injured” with unredacted samples of the merchandise that was presented to Customs “for the purposes of determining whether the merchandise or its retail packaging infringes the copyright, bears or consists of a counterfeit mark of the registered mark, or is a violation of Section 1201 of Title 17, United States Code.”

The bill would also allow Customs agents to share with rights holders information after the agency itself determines that a product is counterfeit. Customs would be permitted to share, among other things, the date that the merchandise was seized, the port of entry of the goods, the type of merchandise that was seized, and the name and address of the exporter and importer of the merchandise.

Hearing Slated for March 28.

The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold a hearing on H.R. 4216 on Wednesday, March 28.

The committee will also hold take up the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act of 2011, H.R. 3668, at that time.

The Senate's version of the Counterfeit Drugs Act, S. 1886, passed by voice vote March 6. Both bills seek to increase the maximum penalties for trafficking in counterfeit pharmaceuticals.


H.R. 4216 at http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/HR4216.pdf

H.R. 3668 at http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/HR3668.pdf