The House Appropriations Committee has recently spoken to the issue of the tariff classification of duty-free costumes, in its report associated with the proposed FY 2017 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. 

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ITC Decision Bans Imports of Counterfeit Shoes

On June 23, 2016, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) issued a broad Exclusion Order upholding trademark protection of the Converse, Inc. diamond-patterned outsole portion of the shoe company’s famous Chuck Taylor sneaker. The Exclusion Order has the effect of barring imports of sneakers that infringe on the Converse diamond-patterned outsole.

The decision is considered a partial victory for defendants Walmart, Sketchers and New Balance, which were accused of infringing the trademark of the midsole – which consists of a rubber band around the front of the shoe, a toe cap and stripes on the sides of the Chuck Taylor shoe.  The Exclusion Order does not prevent importations of look-a-like sneakers that contain these features, as long as they do not have the diamond patterned outsole.

Converse had sought to protect its Chuck Taylor trademarks by means of civil litigation in federal court and a complaint before the ITC.  The civil litigation remains pending with the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.  The recent ITC decision could possibly be relied upon by the litigants to bolster their claims in court, as it was a mixed win for both sides. 

The Converse case highlights a much-overlooked tool available to trademark owners who are seeking to protect their brand.  While civil litigation offers the opportunity to win monetary damages from counterfeiters, successful actions before the ITC can result in exclusion orders that bar importations of infringing merchandise. 

Please contact Christina Leonard at (212-973-7769 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) for further information on this development and for additional information on how our firm can assist trademark owners assert their rights.



In a notice published in the Federal Register on May 17, 2016, the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (“CITA”) announced its approval of a short supply petition filed by GDLSK seeking a determination that certain warp stretch woven rayon blend fabrics are not available in commercial quantities in a timely manner in the CAFTA–DR (Central America Free Trade Agreement – Dominican Republic) countries.

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Fundamentals of Foreign-Trade Zones: NAFTZ Spring Seminar

David M. Murphy is speaking at the 30th Annual Spring Seminar of the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones in Nashville, TN (May 22-24, 2016).  Mr. Murphy will speak on the “Fundamentals of Foreign-Trade Zones” on May 23.  The program includes seminars addressing topics currently affecting FTZ grantees, operators and users from beginners to the advanced professional. For more information about this topic, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For more information on the program, see


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