Customs disputes

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”) has the authority to exclude from entry, detain, and/or seize merchandise it deems counterfeit. Irwin IP can help you with Customs’ processes if you want to leverage Customs’ resources while protecting your intellectual property and market position from illegal imports. Irwin IP can also help you navigate the claims and petitions processes if Customs has detained or seized your merchandise imports. Sometimes Customs gets it wrong and detains lawfully manufactured and imported goods. Irwin IP’s lawyers have experience representing clients in the types of administrative and judicial proceedings that are necessary to get your goods released. Irwin IP’s knowledge of both substantive intellectual property law and Customs’ procedural law gives us, and you, a huge advantage when working to resolve Customs disputes. We will work with you through the entire ordeal of proving to the government that your goods are legitimate, be it through administrative petitions, informal meetings with Customs officers, or court forfeiture proceedings brought by or against the government.

For example, Irwin IP has taken the following actions on behalf of our clients:

  • Filed dozens of petitions seeking relief from the seizure of legitimate merchandise

  • Filed claims for seized property, protecting it from summary forfeiture

  • Secured the conditional release of goods from Customs detention

  • Met with Customs officials in Washington, D.C. to argue the merits of a Client’s case

  • Secured consent from a trademark owner for a Client to import goods seized by Customs

Whether you are an importer whose goods have been unlawfully detained and seized, or a brand owner who seeks the assistance of Customs to combat counterfeits or gray market importers, we can help.

Representative matters of Irwin IP, or its lawyers, include:

U.S. Auto Parts Network, Inc. v. United States. Trial counsel for U.S. Auto in litigation asserting violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. Successfully secured a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) and a preliminary injunction against U.S. Customs Border Protection (“CBP”) after multi-witness evidentiary hearing, which precluded CBP from enforcing an import bonding requirement, and requiring CBP to expeditiously process all the improperly detained U.S. Auto merchandise that had been improperly detained.

LKQ Corporation v. United States. Lead counsel for LKQ Corporation in litigation securing a grant of a motion to compel rapid filing to force the Government to expeditiously bring judicial forfeiture actions against property to allow LKQ to vindicate its position that its good were authorized under the law, and not counterfeit, after the Government took the position that it could delay resolution of the merits for five years while continuing to seize LKQ’s merchandise. Further secured order compelling Government to consolidate new forfeiture actions in previously brought action as opposed to bringing new actions.