Customs IP Enforcement

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the primary federal agency responsible for securing the United States’ borders. But the flow of counterfeit and infringing goods across U.S. borders is a global problem that requires vigorous collaboration between CBP and rights owners to ensure effective enforcement. This includes the enforcement of exclusion orders issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to guard against the infringement of U.S. patents, copyrights, and trademarks.

Baker Botts regularly represents clients in 19 C.F.R. Part 177 (Part 177) enforcement proceedings before CBP’s Exclusion Order Enforcement Branch (EOEB). These proceedings are conducted inter partes and build on the record developed before the ITC in Section 337 investigations. They result in ruling letters that set forth whether and how CBP will enforce ITC exclusion orders against certain parties and products. Navigating them requires familiarity with the EOEB's nuanced procedures under Part 177 and experience with the types of briefing and oral advocacy that inevitably arises in such proceedings. Baker Botts has participated in more than twice as many of these inter partes proceedings through final decision than any other law firm since the proceedings were first made available in 2017.

Baker Botts further augments its Section 337 Practice by working closely with CBP's field offices and Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEES) to administer ITC exclusion orders after they issue. This includes sharing trade intelligence, creating training materials, and providing in-person instruction to help CBP more easily make infringement determinations at the border.  In this way, Baker Botts facilitates legitimate trade while assisting CBP to enforce U.S. laws.

Baker Botts’ International Trade Group also routinely advises and counsels clients on a full spectrum of regulatory issues related to imports, including (1) the classification of complex products, software and technology (such as telecommunications items) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS); (2) customs valuation, entry and duty drawback; (3) rules of origin; (4) beneficial tariff programs (e.g., USMCA and the Generalized System of Preferences) and (5) Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) transactions.