The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued the 2018 “Special 301 Report” on April 27, which identified 36 countries whose intellectual property (IP) systems present the greatest challenges to U.S. interests and deserve a higher degree of bilateral engagement. The report further identified 19 countries that must take steps to improve their customs agencies’ IP enforcement efforts to stop the import, export and/or transshipment of IP-infringing goods and underscored the need for some countries to prohibit the entry of infringing goods into free trade zones (FTZs).

The release of this year’s report also happens to coincide with the publication of the 2018 edition of Thomson Reuters book, Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights. Where the report outlines the need for governments to increase efforts to stop the cross-border flow of infringing goods, Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights offers an examination of how IP owners can benefit from their engagement with customs agencies.

At its core, the USTR advises trading partners to empower customs officials with greater authority to take action. Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights identifies U.S. laws and regulations that IP owners should use to engage U.S. Customs and Border Protection in their efforts to stop infringing goods from entering the U.S. market. It also identifies the obligations of foreign governments to assist IP owners in efforts to seize infringing goods that are imported, exported or transshipped based either on laws or obligations arising from existing trade agreements.

In addition, the book:

  • Includes a series of questions to help IP owners undertake an assessment of a foreign country’s IP enforcement system,
  • Describes ways to maximize the working relationship with customs officials,
  • Discusses the varied ways a customs agency may be structured to maximize IP enforcement,
  • Emphasizes the importance of information exchange and recent changes regulations and laws regarding information exchange,
  • Identifies trends in expanding legal authority for customs officials, and
  • Explains the impact of the internet on the international trade on infringing goods.

At a time when national governments and intergovernmental organizations are struggling to combat the growing trade of infringing goods that may present public health and safety risks, the role of IP owners becomes much more important as a partner in the enforcement effort. For governments, intergovernmental organizations and IP owners to be effective partners, it is important to be aware of how regulations, laws and international agreements are changing to meet the enforcement needs of the IP community, and the book does that.

 The comprehensive volume identifies issues that IP owners should be aware of when engaging customs agencies around the world as a part of a corporate IP enforcement strategy.

Visit Legal Solutions for more information on the 2018 edition of Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.


This post was written by Timothy Trainer, coauthor of Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights. Trainer also is the founder of the Global Intellectual Property Strategy Center, P.C., a consulting firm representing domestic and international clients, in Washington, D.C. Follow Trainer on Twitter @TTrainerglobal

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