International Trade and Customs Q & A with Jennifer Diaz of Becker & Poliacoff (Part 2)

Recently we had an opportunity to pick Jennifer Diaz’s mind regarding IP and international trade.  Here is the second half of that interaction.

If my supplier tells me the UL mark is legit, how can I confirm?

UL provides its certified and licensed parties with documentation evidencing that the products have been UL certified by UL and can bear the UL certification mark.  UL also has a 4 part test to verify authentic marks.  1. “UL in a circle” symbol, 2. Word “Listed”, 3. Product name or company name/file number, and 4. Issue/serial number or alphanumeric control number. Suppliers should have this documentation handy and readily available.  Further, UL can be contacted for more information as to whether a specific product is certified and UL also lists this information on UL’s website. and

I don’t think my imported product violates anybody’s IP, but I got a notice from US customs that the goods are under review. What should I do?

When CBP detains merchandise, you should be incredibly proactive.  You should maintain a great relationship with your customs broker and proactively be in contact with CBP.  First, you want to verify what trademark or IP is at issue.  Then, you want to be in touch with your supplier and review your Pre-Compliance performed – perhaps you already have the license agreement and can send it to CBP and it would justify the quick release of your goods.

By mistake I imported counterfeit goods and now I think I am on a US government black list. What can I do to get off this list?

If you import counterfeit goods, your goods are subject to seizure, AND you may be subject to a penalty additionally, if the IP rights holder has taken the extra step of recording their IP with CBP.  After you’ve been caught once, you’ll be stopped and intensively examined – after all you were caught once – so you are now an easy target.  Once CBP sees that you do not have any IP issues for the next 3-5 shipments, you will go back to regular inspections, typically 1% of your shipments.

I am the legit brand holder of a certain product. I know the identities of US companies who are importing counterfeits. What can I do to bring them as much pain and frustration as possible?

Tell CBP!  CBP wants to hear about it.  When you record your marks, you can advise CBP right then.  Otherwise, CBP also maintains a website JUST for this type of reporting.  It is


Jennifer Diaz is a Board Certified International Attorney who is considered an “expert” in international law by the Florida Bar.  Ms. Diaz is experienced working with the many Federal agencies including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulating trade.  She also produces the Customs and International Trade Law Blog.


1 Comment

  1. Earl Hernandez on October 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks for this very important information. It is not easy to be at a black list when all your intentions of bringing the supplies is for the good. It sometimes can’t be helped that the supplies are subject for scrutiny since it came from another country. All you have to do is be calm and think about what to do to prevent being black listed.

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