Each year, millions of dollars in counterfeit goods enter the U.S. According to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the international trade of counterfeit and pirated goods amounted to as much as $509 billion in 2016.[1] From 2003 through 2018, the number of seizures of infringing goods by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) increased from 6,500 to 33,810, while the domestic value of seized merchandise – as measured by manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the legitimate good – increased from $94 million in 2003 to $1.4 billion in 2018.[2]

A company holding intellectual property rights can take proactive measures to protect itself against the importation of counterfeit and pirated goods into the U.S. Registering intellectual property rights with the CBP is proving to be one of the most efficient and cost-effective measures to protect intellectual property rights and block the importation of infringing goods

CBP is the primary federal agency responsible for securing America’s borders, and its mandate includes the protection of U.S. intellectual property rights. Per federal regulations, CBP has the authority to detain, seize, forfeit, and ultimately destroy merchandise seeking entry into the United States if the same is in violation to a trademark or copyright that have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the U.S. Copyright Office (USCOP) as well as subsequentially registered with CBP. CBP also has authority to intercept goods that are covered by an exclusion order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission.[3]

The process to register a trademark and/or copyright with CBP’s e-Recordation system is relatively simple and inexpensive. The owner of the rights or its agent submits the application for the “U.S. Customs & Border Protection e-Recordation Program”[4] along with the applicable filing fees. The e-Recordation fee for federally registered trademarks is $190 per International Class of Goods. The recordation must be renewed concurrently with the renewal of the trademark at the USPTO. The fee for e-Recordation of copyright is also $190 per copyright, but the recordation must be renewed every 20 years. The renewal fees are currently $80 per trademark/copyright.

In addition to registering the trademark and/or copyright, a recordation holder can also partner with CBP to maximize efficiency in identifying and preventing the entry of infringing goods. For example, a recordation holder can develop a product identification guide to aid CBP in identifying genuine merchandise and distinguishing it from infringing goods. Further, a recordation holder can deliver in-person product identification training to CBP personnel in the field and can also deliver live-online training to CBP personnel that introduces the brand and describes their intellectual property rights. Finally, a recordation holder can partner with the Centers of Excellence and Expertise for additional training and enforcement opportunities.

The registration of trademarks and copyrights through CBP’s e-Recordation system is one of the most proactive measures for a company to protect its intellectual property rights from international competition. For assistance and guidance navigating through the CBP’s e-Registration system, or on how to protect your intellectual property, please contact Devin Ricci and Stephen Hanemann.


[1] Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Report to the President of the United States, DHS 1, 8 (2020) https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/20_0124_plcy_counterfeit-pirated-goods-report_01.pdf.

[2] Id.

[3] Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement: How Businesses Can Partner with CBP to Protect their Rights, CBP 1, 2 (2020), https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2017-Jan/ipr_guide.pdf; see also Devin Ricci & Mary Gimber, Using the International Trade Commission to Stop the Importation of Infringing Goods, Kean Miller Intell. Prop. Blog (April 19, 2021), https://www.intellectualproperty.law/2021/04/using-the-international-trade-commission-to-stop-the-importation-of-infringing-goods/

[4] The applications for the e-Recordation Program can currently be found at https://iprr.cbp.gov/.