Federal Circuit: Redelivery and seizure of imports for counterfeit certification marks

Federal Circuit: Redelivery and seizure of imports

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today affirmed a grant of summary judgment for the government by the U.S. Court of International Trade, thus concluding that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had lawfully issued a notice to redeliver merchandise that violated 19 U.S.C. § 1526(e) by displaying a counterfeit certification mark.


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The case is: ICCS USA Corp. v. United States, 2019-1561 (Fed. Cir. March 11, 2020). Read the Federal Circuit’s decision [PDF 155 KB]

At issue were approximately 57,000 individual butane gas canisters imported into the United States and displaying a brand label affixed on the outside of the canisters. At the time of import, that brand of model canisters displayed a registered certification mark owned by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL).

CBP subsequently determined that the canisters were “counterfeit” because they made unauthorized use of the UL certification mark, and issued a notice to the importer to redeliver the imported canisters to

CBP custody pursuant to § 1526(e). The importer redelivered only 29,008 of the canisters to CBP for seizure. CBP issued a penalty notice to the importer for the undelivered canisters, and assessed damages of about $41,000.

The importer contested the matter before the trade court, which found that the certification mark was counterfeit. The importer attempted to obtain from UL a consent to use the certification mark, but UL responded that its certifications were not retroactive and that the merchandise at issue was not then and was still not authorized to display the UL certification marks. Accordingly, the trade court granted the government’s motion for summary judgment. Today, the Federal Circuit affirmed.

For more information on this topic or to learn more about KPMG’s Trade & Customs Services, contact:

Doug Zuvich
Partner and Global Practice Leader
T: 312-665-1022
E: dzuvich@kpmg.com

John L. McLoughlin
Principal and East Coast Leader
T: 267-256-2614
E: jlmcloughlin@kpmg.com

Andy Siciliano
Partner and National Practice Leader
T: 631-425-6057
E: asiciliano@kpmg.com

Steve Brotherton
Principal and Global Export and Sanctions Leader
T: 415-963-7861
E: sbrotherton@kpmg.com

Luis (Lou) Abad
Principal, Washington National Tax
T: 212-954-3094
E: labad@kpmg.com

Irina Vaysfeld
T: 212-872-2973
E: ivaysfeld@kpmg.com

Amie Ahanchian
T: 202-533-3247
E: aahanchian@kpmg.com

Christopher Young
T: 312-665-3229
E: christopheryoung@kpmg.com

Gisele Belotto
Managing Director
T: 305-913-2779
E: gbelotto@kpmg.com

George Zaharatos
T: 404-222-3292
E: gzaharatos@kpmg.com

Andy Doornaert
Managing Director
T: 313-230-3080
E: adoornaert@kpmg.com

Jessica Libby
Managing Director
T: 612-305-5533
E: jlibby@kpmg.com

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