The Foreign Counterfeit Merchandise Prevention Act
On January 9, 2015, Ted Poe (R-Texas) introduced the Foreign Counterfeit Merchandise Prevention Act (H.R. 236). The purpose of this bill is to amend the Trade Secrets Act to allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection to involve trademark and copyright owners in its investigation once it has seized a potential counterfeit shipment. A similar bill was previously introduced in 2012, but it was not passed.
Presently, U.S. Customs redacts bar codes and identifying marks before sharing photographs of the counterfeit merchandise with trademark owners pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §1905, which provides for a broad criminal prohibition of disclosure of information by officers and federal employees. The new bill creates an exception to 18 U.S.C. §1905 by explicitly allowing U.S. Customs to provide a trademark or copyright owner with information, samples and images of the counterfeit merchandise and retail packaging. The bill includes also includes an amendment to §42 of the Lanham Act, which allows U.S. Customs to provide information, digital images and samples (subject to a bond) to the trademark owner.
The bill was assigned to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations of the House Judiciary Committee.
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