A measure aimed at stepping up safeguards for U.S. companies against foreign competition in the gray market has prompted wariness among trademark owners who worry the proposal could scale back IP enforcement or cause unintended changes in trade policy.

The bill, S. 2359, was introduced April 5 by Virginia Sens. Charles Robb (D) and John Warner (R). It would revise U.S. Customs Service regulations to prevent inspectors from seizing restricted gray market goods if they carry more than one trademark and if the U.S. owner of any trademark they bear is the same as or closely aligned with any foreign owner of any other trademark they bear. The Customs Service defines restricted gray market articles as foreign-made merchandise bearing a genuine trademark identical to or substantially indistinguishable from one owned and recorded by a U.S. citizen or corporation, and which is imported without the U.S. owner’s permission (Title 19 C.F.R. �133.23).

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