Showing posts from February, 2008

Canada Fights Back, Costa Rica Gets Extension

Here's a page slap of a few articles on the current controversy over Barack Obama's possible, but not proven (or even likely), contacts with Canada over NAFTA. The story, which the campaign denies, is that the Senator contacted the Canadian Ambassador to assure Canada that all this negative NAFTA talk is just for purposes of the campaign. Given the talk of re-negotiating NAFTA, the Canadians have started to point out the value of U.S.-Canada trade, particularly in the energy sector. Also below is a press release from the USTR announcing the extension of time in which Costa Rica can join CAFTA-DR. Canada's ferocious NAFTA growl - How the World Works - Harper Says U.S. Reopening of Nafta Would Be Mistake (Update2) Obama Fact Check CAFTA-DR Extension

Help My Zune

This is an off topic technology post. I'm looking for technical help and, frankly, just letting you know I am here. I have been busy with work and have a lot of travel coming up. I'll post as I can. Also, I haven't seem too much that really struck me as interesting. I lost my MP3 player. By "lost" I mean it was quite possibly stolen by housekeeping personnel in a hotel. Unfortunately, it is equally possible that I left it in the hotel's fitness center. Either way, my Samsung MP3 player is no more. The much greater tragedy is that my outstanding Shure headphones went with it. I have struggled for a couple weeks to figure out what to get as a replacement. My penultimate decision was to get a very cool new Samsung YP-P2 . The Samsung has a very slick iPhone-ish design and touch screen interface. I also figured that a Samsung to Samsung upgrade would make migrating my collection easy. Best Buy, changed my mind. Basically, the sales guy told me to look at Microsof

No Trademark Jurisdiction without Embargo

The Federal Circuit has issued a decision in Sakar International v. United States , a case I posted about here . Sakar, you may recall, involved the seizure of and a civil penalty relating to the importation of PDA accessories bearing of allegedly counterfeit Microsoft Windows logos on keyboards and UL labels on chargers. The Court of International Trade originally determined that it had jurisdiction to hear the case because it was an embargo. However, because Customs and Border Protection's assessment of the fine was not yet final, the CIT dismissed the case. On appeal, things only got worse for Sakar. The Federal Circuit rejected the notion that the law prohibiting the importation of merchandise is an embargo. Rather, according to the Federal Circuit, an embargo is a governmental restriction on the importation of merchandise for governmental purposes. The law prohibiting the importation of counterfeits is, on the contrary, there to permit private parties to enjoy their priva

Why Valuation Matters to Art Smugglers

Customs and Border Protection checks the reported value of imports against its database of reported values on similar goods. When the current import has a value that is out of line with the statistics, CBP can issue a rejection notice or a CF28 request for information. One wonders whether that is what started this story unraveling. A missing painting by the famed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has been located in a warehouse in Manhattan. The painting had gone missing in Brazil after the bankruptcy and arrest of its owner. According to the article, the $8 million painting was declared to have a value of $100. That sounds like a 592 fraud penalty to me, although I think it is safe to assume that the importer of the painting may have bigger issues coming his or her way.

Ron Paul and the North American Union

This is not a forum for debating presidential politics. So the context of this article is unfortunate. It is from and it analyzes several Ron Paul statements. Of particular interest here is his notion that a secret cabal is planning to merge the U.S., Canada, and Mexico into a North American Union and that a major (but non-existent) superhighway project is the first step. The article is worth reading as it also points out that the U.S. does not spend $1 trillion to maintain its foreign empire.

Real Counterfeits of Virtual Swords

Square Enix , the company behind the Final Fantasy computer games, movies and other media has a novel intellectual property issue. Someone is importing copies of its swords. Keep in mind that prior to being knocked off, these swords existed only as virtual swords to be wielded in video games. According to this article , Square Enix has sued four retailers and is working with Customs and Border Protection to seize imports.

News on Border Searches of Computers

Questions surrounding Customs and Border Protection searches of computers at the border continue to generate news and lawsuits. Here are two recent articles on the topic: Washington Post CNN If a CBP inspector could, in a Matrix-like way, jack right into a passenger's brain, he or she might find all sorts of possibly messy private details. These days, computers and other digital devices are extensions of our physical memories. Where we need to be next week and where we were was last week is in our PDAs (and maybe not our head). An arriving passenger's computer might also have privileged client communications, possibly embarrassing bad hair pictures from the 1970's, secret recipes for guacamole, and mash notes from the creepy guy in accounting. Does CBP have the right to rummage through that data looking for evidence of terrorism, child pornography, or other wrong doing? That is the question that may end up going to go before the Court. For the moment, a suit brought

The Other First Sale

I have been catching up on cases and, frankly, have not seen too much that is particularly interesting. Here is one to watch for: Gross Kobrick Corp. v. United States, CIT court number 08-0042. The issue is whether Customs and Border Protection properly excluded merchandise and properly refused to permit the importer to segregate admissible from non-admissible merchandise. The merchandise is compressed remnant sheeting known as "pound goods" sold in bales. I am picturing kids sheets printed with Curious George and Buzz Lightyear, die cut into uniform sizes and compressed into bales for resale. It is not clear to me what one would do with this merchandise, but apparently there is a market for it. My made up references to cartoon characters is important here. According to the complaint, Customs detained the merchandise on the basis of an alleged violation of a trademark or copyright. But, and this is important, CBP never gave the importer any indication as to what trademar

Page Slap

A page slap is when you reply to an e-mail message with nothing but a link to a web site. In essence, you are saying "Look at this and figure it out yourself." I am in DC at the Georgetown International Trade and Customs Law Update. The program is going well. Items getting a lot of attentiona are zeroing and the impact of non-subject merchandise on injury determinations at the ITC. On the customs side, most of the talk during breaks is about first sale valuation. Later today, I am speaking on prior disclosure and internal reviews. But, I have seen a couple interesting articles in the paper. Hence, this page slap (which is not in response to an e-mail, but so what): An Inquiry into Artifact Smuggling Export Controls and China's Security Services I've got a stack of cases to review, so expect something substantive soon.