Whenever a product is invented, produced, or shipped there are two things that are vulnerable to theft; the actual product and the intellectual property that goes with it. Intellectual property comes from the idea that created the product in the first place, and it is protected by patenting, trade marking, or copyrighting the product or idea.
Why Intellectual Property Rights Needs Protection
Ideas and product are meant to be shared, but it is only the people or business that own the intellectual property rights that should control how that happens and which people have the right to benefit financially from the distribution. Selling and distributing products today has gotten complicated because products are shipped all over the world and often stop in several different locations before they reach their final destination. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is charged with the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, and although they take the task very seriously it comes with its share of challenges. Dishonest people and businesses frequently try to create replicas of products that are protected by patents and trademarks. Anything from clothing to electronics to pharmaceuticals to computers are shipped all over the world by those who do not have the Intellectual Property Rights to these items.
A System in Place
In an attempt to stave off these thieves, U.S. Customs has developed a reporting system that uses a web based tool called eRecordation that keeps track of trademarks so they can seamlessly use the e-Allegations reporting system to report any violations. Customs works with the Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center as well as various law enforcement in order to seize suspicious shipments and stop illegitimate products from being distributed by those who do not have the right to do so.
While it is good to know that those with legal enforcement power are making intellectual property rights a priority, the stealing and distribution of products and ideas hurts the entire trade industry as well as the global economy. It is important for everyone that is exposed to these products and ideas through their journey to do their part to keep these ideas protected. This includes freight forwarders that help businesses distribute their products internationally. By choosing reputable freight forwarders that maintain strong relationships with customs officials businesses keep an extra layer of protection for their work with one more set of eyes looking out for their interests.