Showing posts from December, 2011

This is Encouraging

One of the issues I have long had with Customs' enforcement activities is what I perceive to be a lack of effort to differentiate between counterfeit goods, which should be seized, and unauthorized parallel imports, which are usually (but not always) perfectly admissible. Parallel imports, also known as gray market goods, are legitimate goods that are purchased abroad and imported without the authorization of the U.S. trademark or copyright holder. Image finding a case of expensive brandy at a fire-sale price in Iceland. If you think you can make a buck reselling the goods in the U.S., buy the goods, and import them, you are a parallel importer (and there is nothing wrong with that). Unless, as is often the case, the goods really are counterfeit and you are being duped, but that is not what we are talking about here. The problem is that when your brandy arrives at the port, Customs and Border Protection has to decide whether you are entitled to import the goods. As a general matt

Welcome to 2012

President Obama has signed the Presidential Proclamation authorizing the implementation of the World Customs Organization's 2012 update to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Here is a link to the source document . There are changes throughout the tariff schedule. However, they seem to cluster around food and agricultural products and products with an environmental impact (good or bad). On that note, I wish you all a very happy, healthy, and successful 2012.

The Missing Post

There is a lot going on. Unfortunately, I am in the land of terrible internet access. Thus, I give you these two headlines and links. Customs and Border Commissioner Bersin is leaving his post at the end of the month. The Federal Circuit has ruled the U.S. law does not permit the application of CVD law to Non-Market Economies, including China. More to follow.

Bioreactor: Hair Band or Lab Equipment?

"Bioreactor" sounds like a good name for a heavy-metal band, or possibly for a post-apocalyptic video game. But, in reality, it is a machine in which living organisms, typically bacteria, perform some useful chemical function. For example, you might want to feed complex carbohydrates like barley to yeast and end up with beer. For industrial purposes, you might be feeding bacteria something and ending up with an antibiotic. Applikon Biotechnology, Inc. v. United States is a Court of International Trade case about the tariff classification of bioreactors. For reference, here is a page full of the plaintiff's products , all of which look like props from a sci-fi movie except for the green one, which looks like it comes from Kang and Kodos of the Simpsons. The question here was whether Customs and Border Protection properly classified the bioreactors in 8419 as machinery, plant or laboratory equipment for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change o

Show Me the Evidence!

Tariff classification disputes are rarely very sexy. On the other hand, that is not always the case. A recent pair of decisions from the Court of International Trade are good examples of the latter. Both involve the tariff classification of an upper garment for women described as a top with "shelf bra" or as a "bra top." You can probably see where this is going and, if you are offended by the sort of humor that comes from 12-year-old boys, you might want to avoid this post. The two cases are Lerner New York, Inc. v. United States  and Victoria's Secret Direct LLC v. United States . Both of the decisions are preliminary determinations having to do with an important evidence question. What it comes down to is whether a woman, whose professional work is in part to serve as a fit model, may testify as to the functioning of the imported merchandise in providing support for her bosom. Solely for purposes of providing context to my readers to ensure an adequate under