Where Should I Register my Copyrights and Trademarks?

Department of Homeland SecurityYes, that’s correct.   According to the The U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security, trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s economy, U.S. workers, national security and the health and safety of consumers.

Stopping the flow of counterfeit goods into the United States is an express priority of the CBP.  To assist its efforts to protect U.S. intellectual property, the CBP maintains a recordation system for U.S. registered copyrights and trademarks. You can benefit from the CBP’s enforcement activities by registering your trademark in its database. Registration with CBP adds another layer of protection so it’s a great idea if you distribute your goods internationally.

Is registration effective?  It may be.  The CBP reports that its enforcement activities have successfully interdicted counterfeit goods on many occasions.  In Fiscal Year, 2007, the CBP and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, seized counterfeit and pirated goods valued at more than 196 million dollars, a 26 percent increase over the same period in 2006. At mid-year FY 2008, CBP and ICE have seized fake goods with a domestic value of over $113 million, an increase of almost three percent over mid-year FY 2007.  It’s not clear what kinds of counterfeit goods were seized by these agencies; however, the CBP reports that with respect to safety and security risks, they seized goods that included electrical articles, pharmaceuticals, perfume, cigarettes, batteries, auto parts, food, and sunglasses.  As recently as mid January, the CBP seized a shipment of counterfeit designer perfumes with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of nearly $5 million and a domestic value of more than $131,000.

Registration of your copyrights and trademarks with CBP may be done online.  The fee per copyright is $190; the fee for trademarks is $190 per International Class of goods.

Let us know if you wish to receive additional information about this valuable service.  You can obtain direct information from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection  and  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies.

— Adam G. Garson, Esq.