Many immigrant entrepreneurs start their US life by expanding their foreign businesses to US or establishing a new business with their connection. Import and Export business is natural choice for them. If this is the case for you, trademark is one must aspect of business to get yourself familiar with.
What is Trademark?
Trademark is any word, symbol device or combination thereof used in connection with a product and service to help consumers identify that product or service as different from those of others. For example, when you hear people say Nike, you believe of shoes, shirts and sports apparel. Or the Apple products are differentiated from the others by the sign of bitten apple.
If trademark of imported goods is identical or confusingly similar to those recorded with US customs and enforcement, your entire goods are subject to seizure and forfeiture. Any person who ““directs, assists financially or otherwise,
or aids or abets the importation of goods is subject to a civil fine equal to the value of the merchandise had it been original. Customs policy does not discriminate between knowing and unknowing importers for the purpose of assessment of a fine.
If your goods happen to pass the customs and are sold in US, if other trademark holders can prove in federal court that the infringing use is likely to confuse consumers and that the business has suffered economically as a result of the infringement, you may have to pay them money damages based on the loss.
If the court finds that you intentionally copied the trademark, or at least should have known about the existing trademark, you may have to give up the profits you made by using the mark as well as pay other damages, such as punitive damages, fines, or attorney fees.
Therefore, it can’t be stressed enough to set the record straight on trademark issue before you start your sales work, which means run your research and register your own trademark with US Trademark Office.
As always, we are one phone call away. Dial 954 892 5517 and ask for Attorney Linda Liang for further assistance!