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Intellectual Property Specialists for Lawyers
Specializing in Patents,
Trademarks, and Copyrights

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In Memory of
Robert Podwil
 

U.S. Customs Recordation Services

The U.S. Customs Service of the United States Department of the Treasury, can and will protect your intellectual property rights with an owner's authorization only. To obtain this protection, active Patents, Trademark registrations, Copyright registrations, Mask Works and Trade Secrets must be registered with the to the U.S. International Trade Commission. The action which the Customs Service can take to help protect intellectual property depends on the type of intellectual property involved.

Patents

While Customs can assist patent owners in attempting to determine if imports of infringing goods are taking place. Customs will survey imports and advise the patent owner of the names and addresses of importers whose goods appear to infringe the patent. 

Customs charges a fee for this service, which may be of 2, 4, or 6 months' duration. Patent owners often use the results of Customs patent surveys as evidence for the International Trade Commission to begin exclusion order proceedings. The information may also be used in developing a patent infringement lawsuit.

Trademarks, Copyrights and Trade Names

Owners of registered trademarks, of registered copyrights, and of trade names can record these rights with the Customs Service. Recordation is relatively inexpensive, and subjects imports of infringing items to seizure and forfeiture as prescribed by the Customs Regulations.

Mask Works

The only protection Customs can give a mask work is by means of an ITC exclusion order or court order directing denial of entry of infringing items. 

According to the Copyright Law, Section 901 (2):

"a "mask work" is a series of related images, however fixed or encoded-

(A) having or representing the predetermined, three-dimensional pattern of metallic, insulating, or semiconductor material present or removed from the layers of a semiconductor chip product; and

(B) in which series the relation of the images to one another is that each image has the pattern of the surface of one form of the semiconductor chip product."

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