United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: May 18, 2024

§ 1526.
Merchandise bearing American trade-mark
Importation prohibited

Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, it shall be unlawful to import into the United States any merchandise of foreign manufacture if such merchandise, or the label, sign, print, package, wrapper, or receptacle, bears a trademark owned by a citizen of, or by a corporation or association created or organized within, the United States, and registered in the Patent and Trademark Office by a person domiciled in the United States, under the provisions of sections 81 to 109 of title 15, and if a copy of the certificate of registration of such trademark is filed with the Secretary of the Treasury, in the manner provided in section 106 of said title 15, unless written consent of the owner of such trademark is produced at the time of making entry.

Seizure and forfeiture

Any such merchandise imported into the United States in violation of the provisions of this section shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture for violation of the customs laws.

Injunction and damages

Any person dealing in any such merchandise may be enjoined from dealing therein within the United States or may be required to export or destroy such merchandise or to remove or obliterate such trademark and shall be liable for the same damages and profits provided for wrongful use of a trade-mark, under the provisions of sections 81 to 109 of title 15.

Exemptions; publication in Federal Register; forfeitures; rules and regulations
The trademark provisions of this section and section 1124 of title 15, do not apply to the importation of articles accompanying any person arriving in the United States when such articles are for his personal use and not for sale if (A) such articles are within the limits of types and quantities determined by the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, and (B) such person has not been granted an exemption under this subsection within thirty days immediately preceding his arrival.
The Secretary shall determine and publish in the Federal Register lists of the types of articles and the quantities of each which shall be entitled to the exemption provided by this subsection. In determining such quantities of particular types of trade-marked articles, the Secretary shall give such consideration as he deems necessary to the numbers of such articles usually purchased at retail for personal use.
If any article which has been exempted from the restrictions on importation of the trade-mark laws under this subsection is sold within one year after the date of importation, such article, or its value (to be recovered from the importer), is subject to forfeiture. A sale pursuant to a judicial order or in liquidation of the estate of a decedent is not subject to the provisions of this paragraph.
The Secretary may prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this subsection.
Merchandise bearing counterfeit mark; seizure and forfeiture; disposition of seized goods
Any such merchandise bearing a counterfeit mark (within the meaning of section 1127 of title 15) imported into the United States in violation of the provisions of section 1124 of title 15, shall be seized and, in the absence of the written consent of the trademark owner, forfeited for violations of the customs laws. Upon seizure of such merchandise, the Secretary shall notify the owner of the trademark, and shall, after forfeiture, destroy the merchandise. Alternatively, if the merchandise is not unsafe or a hazard to health, and the Secretary has the consent of the trademark owner, the Secretary may obliterate the trademark where feasible and dispose of the goods seized—
by delivery to such Federal, State, and local government agencies as in the opinion of the Secretary have a need for such merchandise,
by gift to such eleemosynary institutions as in the opinion of the Secretary have a need for such merchandise, or
more than 90 days after the date of forfeiture, by sale by the Customs Service at public auction under such regulations as the Secretary prescribes, except that before making any such sale the Secretary shall determine that no Federal, State, or local government agency or eleemosynary institution has established a need for such merchandise under paragraph (1) or (2).
Civil penalties
Any person who directs, assists financially or otherwise, or aids and abets the importation of merchandise for sale or public distribution that is seized under subsection (e) shall be subject to a civil fine.
For the first such seizure, the fine shall be not more than the value that the merchandise would have had if it were genuine, according to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, determined under regulations promulgated by the Secretary.
For the second seizure and thereafter, the fine shall be not more than twice the value that the merchandise would have had if it were genuine, as determined under regulations promulgated by the Secretary.
The imposition of a fine under this subsection shall be within the discretion of the Customs Service, and shall be in addition to any other civil or criminal penalty or other remedy authorized by law.
(June 17, 1930, ch. 497, title IV, § 526, 46 Stat. 741; Pub. L. 93–596, § 3, Jan. 2, 1975, 88 Stat. 1949; Pub. L. 95–410, title II, § 211(a), (c), Oct. 3, 1978, 92 Stat. 903; Pub. L. 103–182, title VI, § 663, Dec. 8, 1993, 107 Stat. 2214; Pub. L. 104–153, §§ 9, 10, July 2, 1996, 110 Stat. 1388.)
cite as: 19 USC 1526