Why You Should Register Your Trademarks with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) is not the only federal agency that needs to know about your intellectual property. After you send in a trademark application with the USPTO, you should register your brand identifiers with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

The CBP does much more than enforce immigration laws—the agency also helps prevent infringing products from entering the U.S. through more than 300 ports of entry. In 2020, the CBP seized all or part of 26,000 shipments totaling more than $1.2 billion worth of infringing goods. The agency can also intercept products on the gray market when certain conditions are met.

Registering all your intellectual property—not just your trademarks—with the CBP is an important component of your overall IP protection strategy. This is just as important as registering your products with the Amazon Brand Registry. Many other countries task customs and borders officials with inspecting overseas shipments. 

Some Southeast Asian countries, like China, Singapore, and Thailand, track both imports and exports. As we’ve covered in previous blogs, having a proactive strategy for protecting your IP in other countries is crucial for your brand.

Requirements for Registering Trademarks with the CBP

Before you go to the CBP, you need to register your trademark with the USPTO. The marks you want protection for must be listed on the USPTO’s principal register. The same goes for copyrights; you need a registration certificate from the U.S. Copyright Office.

The fees for registering IP with the CBP are quite nominal. Applicants usually pay $190 for each copyright registration and trademark class (international class of goods). CBP applications for copyrights run for 20 years, while the trademark registrations are only active for 10 years. However, renewal with the CBP is only $80.

If a representative from the CBP flags a good that potentially infringes on your trademark, you’ll probably get a call from the agency. You might have a chance to inspect the goods in question and advise officials on recognizing future infringement. More information on registering your goods with the CBP can be found on the agency’s website here.

Knowledgeable Legal Counsel is Your Best Resource

Registering your company’s trademarks with the CBP is not difficult, but the experienced representation offered by Aftermarket Law can help ensure success on the first try. Our team has deep experience working in the unique aftermarket auto products industry. Our trademark services cover, among other things, registration with the CBP, Amazon, and countries where you intend to sell or manufacture your products. 

Call us at (720) 221-4545 or send us a message here. We will get back to you within one business day!

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