Trademark Now – or Turmoil Later

While running your business, you have a million things to think about.  Customers, employees, taxes, transactions – the list is endless.  But what about protecting the company’s very identity, goodwill, and brand?  A company’s name and logo are vital to success from a marketing standpoint, and as such you should be doing everything possible to protect them.  A great place to start is by making a promise to yourself and your business that this year all of your identifiers will be properly trademarked.

Trademarking is actually a fairly simple process, and we are here to help.  The first step to registering your trademark is making sure that no one else already owns it. Using the TESS (hyperlink site) page on the US Patent and Trademark Office you can search both words and designs and be sure no one has an identical or strikingly similar business mark for the same category of goods and services offered by your company.   If you don’t own your mark, then anyone can use it and ride on your goodwill, or damage it.

After determining your brand’s legal standing, a registration must be submitted with all of the details of your mark and specific limits on how you will use it. Ideally, the USPTO should respond to you with approval within 6 months of filing your application.  But what if you find that your mark – or a similar one – is already being used?  Even if you have been using it for a longer period of time, your registration will likely be contested.  These are tough waters to navigate, but we are familiar with them. If you find yourself in this situation, give us a call immediately and we will see how we can help you to move forward in getting your business protected.

Registering your mark is not really optional any longer.  Confusingly similar or counterfeit websites, email addresses, and other indicia are rampant.  Surely if you’ve owned “Great Shipping” for 20 years and gained a reputation in your industry, a new business called “Ship Great” can’t open its doors down the road from you in the same exact field? Though that may seem to be common sense, it is not the law. Unfortunately, unless copyrighted or trademarked, a name that is clearly playing off another brand cannot be challenged legally – no matter how similar.  State trademarking, by the way, is generally useless in our opinion.   Only a Federally recognized mark has substantial business protection value.

Be proactive and give us a call today to see how we can help you keep your business, its goodwill, and its identity, safe and uniquely tied to you alone.

The Death of Intermediaries? Maersk’s Canary in the Coalmine.

Maersk, the world’s leading container ship operator, and Alibaba, the owner of China’s biggest e-commerce platforms, have decided to join forces in what has traditionally been the domain of NVOmaerskfromafarCCs and Freight Forwarders.  The two have established a portal to allow shippers/customers to use Alibaba to book space on Maersk vessels. This union illustrates the growing trend of e-commerce and logistics firms working together, and to me sounds very much like an early warning signal for the great diminishment, if not demise altogether, of NVOCCs and Freight Forwarders.

Effective December 22nd, 2016 Chinese shippers obtained the ability to reserve space through Alibaba’s OneTouch booking website. OneTouch is intended to cater to small and medium-sized Chinese exporters by providing online services including logistics and customs clearance. OneTouch also gives these exporters access to platforms where they can book air freight and parcel delivery services while still supporting the business-to-business marketplace that Alibaba is known for. Traditionally, shippers had gone through freight forwarders in order to book on container vessels.  However, vessel operators such as Maersk are beginning to streamline this process by allowing the beneficial owner of the cargo (the shipper, rather than the shipper’s intermediary) to book directly from the internet.

What does Alibaba gain from its involvement in this? In recent years, Alibaba has been making inroads into logistics services by buying warehouses and taking stakes in couriers.  E-commerce giants are increasingly venturing into logistics in order to enhance their control over the supply chain networks they work with.  Amazon, for example, has dedicated fleets of aircraft, drones, and stores (which are actually mini warehouses/distribution centers), and is rumored to be planning its own U.S. domestic delivery fleet.  Walmart will not remain far behind: its brick and mortar locations and existing truck fleet give it a strong start in the logistics arena.

When asked about the Alibaba partnership, Maersk said that this was part of the shipping line’s plan to provide digitized services to consumers and that it plans to initiate more pilot programs on third-party portals in the near future. Maersk stated that the launch of the service was not focused on bypassing the industry’s traditional middlemen (freight forwarders and NVOCCs), as the OneTouch platform still engages freight forwarders to offer some services, including haulage. Though it may not be the public goal of this joint venture, bypassing intermediaries will inevitably be an effect.

Many tech startups have launched services like this one, attempting to bypass third-party shipping services, but until now Amazon has been the only other high-profile company to venture into these waters. This new partnership between Alibaba and Maersk will add another big name to the list of e-commerce companies exploring a streamlined process, as well as giving carriers a chance to see how these online retail capabilities mesh with their shipping business.  Forwarders and NVOCCs are well-advised to watch this trend closely, and be careful about large investments in physical facilities. A look at today’s ghost towns which were formerly bustling shopping malls gives you a hint of what could be if intermediaries become very easily done without.

Time is Running Out – Renew Your Registration of Food Facilities Now!

The 2016 Food Facility Registration biennial renewal period is wrapping up! In January of 2011 the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”) was signed into law. It designated a renewal period spanning from 12:00 AM on October 1st to 11:59 PM on December 31st. If an importer’s registration is not renewed during this time, it will be completely removed from the account due to expiration.

The registration renewal window occurs in the same October-December window of every even-numbered year. If you don’t renew in time there is no planned extension; This is not something to put on the back burner! Be sure to note that renewing a registration is a completely different process than updating a registration. You are unable to update without renewal first. On the FFRM main menu, the “Update Facility Registration” button will remain hidden until your registration renewal has been processed.

The main effect that the FSMA had on the shipping industry is that it mandated that any domestic or foreign facility that manufactures, prfdablogpicocesses, packs, or holds food for human or animal consumption in the United States must register with the FDA. If a company meets these requirements but doesn’t renew in time, all food imported from the source is subject to be held at the port upon arrival in the U.S. Because of the severity of this risk, import brokers are encouraged to take early action and contact any clients who import high-volume food shipments and be sure they are updated where they need to be. Clarify that the renewal status is properly associated with their shipments, confirm any new registration numbers, and do so before 2017 rolls around and you’ll be in the clear!

If you have any questions about renewal, updating, or whether or not you meet the requirements contact us and we will gladly help you navigate these regulations.

What Does The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act Do For You?

The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act was signed into law by President Obama this Spring, allowing U.S. manufacturers to breathe a sigh of relief. The act will help clarify the duty relief process and facilitate the introduction of a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (“MTB”). An MTB is not a new notion.  The last one had three years’ effect, but went “Missing in Action” since its expiration on December 31st, 2012.

So what does an MTB do?  MTBs help to reduce or eliminate entirely the duties on imported commodities that are not produced or available in the U.S.  This acts as a catch-all when a manufacturer is seeking duty suspension on imports because they can’t find a certain article produced domestically and have to source it from overseas. The MTB program was created to protect manufacturers who otherwise would be charged duties on raw materials that they can’t obtain in the United States. Since part of the role of a duty is to raise the cost of imported items in order to keep the US market competitive, and the products affected by an MTB do not have any domestic rivals, it makes sense to drop the duty to help lower production cost for American manufacturers.

Because of their financial benefits, MTBs are beloved by domestic manufacturers. In the absence of enacting another after 2012, American companies have faced what was essentially an annual $748 million tax hike. This also caused the U.S economy to take a major hit, with the House Ways & Means Committee finding a $1.8 billion loss since the last MTB expired.

The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act is not an MTB but rather a pathway allowing for a future MTB to be passed with improved transparency. In the past, companies would go about avoiding a duty by applying to their individual legislator for relief. Now there is a cleaner system, where the importer petitions the International Trade Commission (“ITC”).  The ITC then reviews the requests and lists their recommendations for duty relief of all products that it deems non-controversial.  The use of a non-partisan review committee helps ensure that the new process is not abused. To finish the process, Congress examines the ITC recommendations votes on the package, providing tax breaks if warranted. The act was a political rarity, passing in the House and Senate almost unanimously across both chambers before being signed into law by president Obama.

It is predicted that an MTB following the new path will finally reach a congressional vote in the summer of 2017. Just like the one before it, this relief will have an expiration date, able to remain in effect for no more than three years before a renewal is necessary. Based on the overwhelming support for the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, it is safe to assume that a new MTB will soon be in action and domestic manufacturers will be able to breathe easy again.

In need of some assistance with navigating these new duty relief processes? We are always happy to help! Contact Us

Customs Announces Aggressive New Procedures You Need to Know

When foreign manufacturers sell below the cost of production or “fair market value”, it is known as “dumping.”  Dumping is a worldwide issue and phenomenon.  Every country and trade block, and virtually every major multinational and/or trade union is claiming “foul” with regard to some competitor.   Thecvblogimagefinal U.S. attempts to offset any gap in pricing by applying a duty specifically calculated, case by case, to increase the selling price to our evaluated fair market value. Countervailing duties involve a similar issue, arising when a foreign government provides benefits such as tax incentives to exporting companies.  Countervailing duties are adjusted to fit each country’s specific policies, while dumping is calculated per shipment. Because of the need for clarity with ever-changing cost, incentive, rates and duties, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has published new procedures for claim investigations dealing with the evasion of antidumping (“AD”) and countervailing (“CV”) duties as follows.  The purpose is to create additional avenues for spurring investigations of the preceding potential issues.   These are double-edged swords: opportunities for U.S. companies and additional risks for overseas entities.   We are always glad to advise from either perspective.

The Changes

  • Scope and purpose of the interim regulations: These regulations intend to clarify deadlines and procedures that Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) must follow during investigation of an alleged “evasion” of payment by an importer of product subject to AD or CV duties. Evasion is defined as the act by which “any amount of applicable antidumping or countervailing duties [is either] reduced or not being applied with respect to the covered merchandise.” Before the new standards were published, CBP was already authorized to handle AD and CV duty evasion through administering penalties for fraud or negligence. However, prior to the new procedures, if a private party submitted evasion allegations then they themselves did not have the benefit of formal investigative procedures.
  • Process for triggering an investigation: In order to trigger an investigation, the interim regulations give “interested parties” and federal agencies the ability to formally ask that CBP look into an alleged evasion. The regulations specify that an “interested party” refers to manufacturers, producers, exporters, or importers of the merchandise at issue based in the U.S. and overseas. Trade associations and unions comprised of these groups are also able to issue an investigation suggestion.
  • Initiation and notification of investigations ? and possible use of “interim measures”: Once the CPB receives a formal request from either a federal agency or “interested party,” they must evaluate the claim. If they find that the request “reasonably suggests” that the accused importer’s merchandise came into the U.S. through evasion, the CBP will open an investigation. The interim regulations allow CBP to take interim measures where it has a “reasonable suspicion” that the accused importer is evading an AD or CV order. These measures include the suspension of liquidation of the importer’s entries, requiring them to secure a single transaction bond, and ordering that they post a deposit in cash.
  • Creation of administrative record and possible use of adverse facts: Thanks to the interim regulations, CBP is now required to maintain an administrative record with all information it relied upon during the course of its investigation. When CBP is gathering information on an investigation, questionnaires and written correspondence with the parties will be the general methods used. The only material CBP is allowed to use during their assessment of fault is that which has been properly filed in respect to the new regulations. If a party does not cooperate with a CBP information request, then they may be subject to adverse inferences based off of the facts available. The regulations still stand in this situation, as only the information on file may be used pertaining to a non-cooperative party.
  • Treatment of confidential information and alternatives to filing allegation: the interim regulations do not provide for an administrative protective order (“APO”) mechanism. However, interested parties may request that CBP treat submitted information as business confidential information (“BCI”). According to the guidelines, BCI treatment is a right to privacy which will be granted in order to protect trade secrets and confidential commercial or financial information. Identification of the parties involved, description of the merchandise at issue, and specification of the basis upon which the alleging party is interested are all specified as ineligible for BCI treatment because they are so central to the investigation. Because their identity will likely be denied BDI treatment, interested parties may be deterred from lodging an allegation directly. In order to remain anonymous but still trigger an investigation, such parties should consider lobbying a separate federal agency to submit a referral to CBP instead of doing it themselves.
  • Determinations and Reviews: CBP has 300 calendar days, with the possibility of a 60 day extension for unique or especially complicated investigations, to issue a determination of evasion. If it finds that evasion has occurred, measures will be taken against entries of the merchandise  at issue in union with the U.S. Department of Commerce (“DOC”). Additionally, the CBP will assess the appropriate duty rates in conjunction with the DOC, requiring the appropriate cash deposits to be made. Any party involved in the investigation has 30 days to request a de novo administrative review of the CBP’s determination as to evasion. At the close of administrative proceedings, CBP must issue a final administrative determination to the parties. The only possible review at this point would require judicial review by the U.S. Court of International Trade.

These changes were published on August 22nd, 2016 and took effect immediately in accordance with the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. If you have any questions or need any legal help navigating these regulations please don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

 

Million-Dollar Fines and Twenty Year Sentences; What Shippers Need to Know

Export violations are increasingly being treated as criminal violations by the United States.  Violations such as exporting without the proper license or misrepresentation of cargo can result in heavy fines as well as imprisonment.  Here are just a few notable cases that have arisen recently that underline the need for strict adherence to the shipping regulations and guidelines of the US government.

“Arc Electronics”

Alexander Fishenko, founder of Arc Electronics Inc, pled guilty to selling approximately $50 million worth of  advanced technology to Russian military entities. On his company website, Arc Electronics was advertised as a traffic light manufacturing business, but the company was using this guise to purchase sensitive electronic components which it then exported to the Russian military. Fishenko was charged with 19 counts, including acting as an agent of the Russian government without consent, obstruction of justice,  and conspiring to export illegally. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.  Ten other individuals and two corporations were also implicated in the same investigation.

“Global Metallurgy, LLC”

Erdal Kuyumcu, CEO of Global Metallurgy, LLC, pled guilty to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. This Act authorizes the President to regulate commerce during a declared state of national emergency in response to a foreign threat to the United States. Kuyumcu led a plan to obtain over one thousand pounds of a metallic powder composed of cobalt and nickel from a U.S.- based supplier for export to Iran. He failed to obtained the required license from the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, making this export illegal. To hide the true destination of the goods from the U.S. supplier, Kuyumcu and a co-conspirator arranged for the metallic powder to be shipped and registered to Turkey first and then transported to Iran.  As of this writing he has not been sentenced,  but the United States is seeking 20 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.

“Xilinx corporation”

Daofu Zhang of Shezhen, China has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for conspiring to sell counterfeit versions of sophisticated integrated circuits to a purchaser in the U.S.  Zhang’s co-    conspirator, Jiang Yan, asked to purchase integrated circuits (ICs) from a U.S. individual. When Yan was told that this was not possible because the desired ICs would have  to be stolen from the U.S. military inventory, Yan offered to supply ICs that “look the same” to be swapped for the ones he wanted. The Chinese conspirators came to the U.S. with counterfeit ICs and drove to   a location in Connecticut to meet the U.S. individual, pay, and trade ICs. Upon arrival,  federal agents ambushed and arrested the parties.

These are all cases of criminal fraud and regulatory violations, but even civil errors can result in severe punishment.  Fulfill Your Packages Inc. (“FYP”) entered a settlement agreement with the Bureau of Industry and Security whereby it agreed to pay a $250,000 fine for having acted as freight forwarder on a transaction it undervalued and miss-shipped.

It is important to remember that free trade is only as free as the legal boundaries which outline it.  Any party transacting across U.S. boundaries is subject to innumerable trade laws and restrictions.  It is your duty to either know the rules or engage competent outside services which do. For legal questions pertaining  to US regulations and guidelines, contact us today!

 

 

Don’t Sell Yourself (or Your Company) Short!

Business valuation is the process of determining the financial worth of a business or company. Although this may seem pretty straightforward, there are three distinct approaches to determining value, and each one requires a great amount of preparationStartup Stock Photos and thought. Establishing the value of a business is not an exact science, largely due to the way different people view each aspect of a company. For example, an investor would likely base their assessment solely on how much money the company brings in, while the owner may heavily value its connection to the community it serves. Beyond the possible differences in opinion, economic conditions significantly affect what people believe a business is worth. We see this when  job scarcity increases and  the number and competition among  business buyers in the market follows, generally resulting in steeper selling prices.  Lets take a look at each approach and identify the major heuristics.

The Asset approach

The asset approach views the business as a set of assets and liabilities that are weighed against one another to determine business value. The asset approach is based on substitution by answering this question: “What would it cost to create an identical business that will produce equal economic benefit for its owners?”   Although this may seem like a fairly simple equation, there are many important details that must be considered such  as  which assets and liabilities should be calculated, what standards to use when  measuring their value, and how to quantify each individual items worth.

The Market approach

As one could assume from its name, the market approach relies on signals from the market place to determine what a business is worth.  The market approach applies the principle of competition, asking: “What are businesses worth that are comparable to my business?” To assess the value of a company, the valuator would identify the  fair market value of the business, which is simply the amount buyers are willing to pay, and sellers are willing to accept. This is found by searching the market for the current “business price equilibrium”. The market approach is commonly used as a way to substantiate one’s offer or asking price

The Income Approach

This approach focuses in on a company’s core motivation for existing: profit. It attempts to answer the question: “If I invest time, money, and effort into owning this business, what economic benefits will it provide me, and when?”  The income valuation approach centers around a future expectation of economic benefit. Past earnings does not guarantee future earnings so valuators must  factor in this risk.  This is probably the most common in the customs brokerage and/or freight forwarding fields, as the companies tend not to be asset based, and market valuations are difficult among closely held businesses which don’t publicly report sales, income, or private sale prices.

There is no “right” answer when it comes to selecting a valuation method, but usually  one or two of the  methods may make more logical sense for your business than the other(s).  It is strongly recommended that you take the time to have a professional appraisal drafted  for your business. Getting a fair and accurate valuation will put you in a strong position to negotiate during the bidding process, and will give your asking price a great deal of credibility in the eyes of the buyer.

The Mooney Law Firm has performed several valuations for companies over the years, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have when it comes to selecting a business appraiser, the negation process after receiving a bid, or which approach to select for your company. Connect with us today!

 

 

Reducing Your Duty Rate, an Easier Way

On May 20, 2016, Congress enacted the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, a new law to restructure the  process companies go through to obtain temporary duty reductions and suspensions.  Previously, companies would have to petition members of Congress to submit individual bills requesting  tariff reductions, which were then accumulated and piled into one large omnibus bill known as  a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB). Under the new law, businesses will instead be able to submit their petitions directly to the U.S International Trade Commission, which in turn, shall advise Congress of the merits.

Tariff reductions are a great relief for US companies which import products.  The imported articles are often ingredients or components used to manufacture a finished American product. To qualify for duty relief,

  • The item at issue must be exclusively produced outside of the US (If there is any domestic production, there must be no objections by competing US companies);
  • The reduction must cost the US Treasury no more than $500,000 in lost tariff revenue per year; and
  • The relief must be uncontested by any member of Congress.

New the Process for MTB

Under the new law The International Trade Commission will open the floor for petitions and you will have 60 days to file your petition beginning this fall on October 15, 2016. When this window closes, it will not reopen for another three years in October of 2019.

The following must be included when filing a petition as stated by the  American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act :

  1. Name and address of the petitioner.
  2. Statement of whether the petition is for an extension of an existing duty suspension or reduction, or for a new one.
  3. A certification that the petitioner is a likely beneficiary of such a duty suspension or reduction
  4. Descriptions of the article covered by the duty suspension or reduction.
  5. Classification ruling and location of the article under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and relevant documentation.
  6. Description of the U.S. industry that uses the item.
  7. An estimate of the total value (in US dollars) of imports of the item for each of the five calendar years after the petition is filed.
  8. If available, The name of each person that imports the item.
  9. If available, a description of any domestic production of the item.

 

Following the submission period, the ITC will publish what was received and there will be a 45 day window for public commentary on the submitted petitions.  After taking public comments, the Commission will submit a preliminary and then final report(s) to Congress on each individual petition for tariff suspension or reduction.  Congress will prepare the MTB legislation based on the recommendations provided by the ITC.  At no point can Congress insert new items on the list given to them by the ITC, but they do have the authority to reject or amend a proposal.  Congress has no deadline for the enactment or introduction of MTB legislation, but given the timeline, it is possible to see it in the latter half of 2017, given the October petition date.

We are more than happy to help you, our friends and clients, apply for relief this year! Contact us today!

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Understanding General Average

Import and export traffic in our globalized world generally runs quite smoothly, but occasionally, the very real risks associated with the natural elements at sea or simple human error impact transportation adversely. Severe weather including wind, rain, swells  and lightning storms can create a recipe for disaster for traveling ships. Less violent, but still serious issues can arise when technology fails or a mistake is made by a crewman which puts the ship and cargo in peril.  General Average (GA) is the legal principle in maritime law that permits the ship-owner to voluntarily sacrifice part of the ship or cargo to save the rest or majority of the vessel  and cargo. The term “average” in this case should be understood to mean “loss”. When an event is declared as a General Average, the ocean carrier is fully relieved of the liability of loss; that burden is instead, distributed collectively  to each cargo owner who’s goods were on that ship.

The most common instance of GA is when crews jettison cargo to lighten a threatened ship; other bases for GA claims include stranding, fires and collisions that may occur either in international waters or on the high seas. These partial losses may be small or reflect millions of dollars in damage. An insurance policy with a General Average protection can, in these instances, protect cargo owners from thousands in out of pocket costs for these claims. It is important to note that there is a difference between General Average protection and Particular Average protection which is covered under a marine insurance policy.

To have a valid General Average claim, the sacrifice must be a voluntary, rather than inevitable decision, necessary for common interests, not merely a part of the property involved, and successful. When a GA claim is made, landed cargo will be detained until a cash bond or security deposit is provided prior to release. Until such bond or security is made, ship-owners hold a lien on the cargo (see our recent post about liens by clicking here). If the General Average claim is small, and the cargo is insured, ship-owners may release the cargo under a General Average Guarantee. This guarantee is a simple form that states the insurers agree to pay the ship owner the owed contribution for the General Average, salvage and any other incurred charges. This guarantee form should include the:

  • Ship/ vessel name
  • Date
  • Brief description of goods insured

Note that you may be required to also place an Average Bond along with the Guarantee if the insured amount of the cargo is less than its contributory value. Please click here for more detail

The General Average claim will be assessed by a general average surveyor who is responsible for determining and reporting the official loss amount. This process can take years and the fee for the adjuster is also billed across the cargo owners. Once all the fees have been applied and totaled with the damages, billing is typically split by percentage according to the amount and value you had on the vessel. The ultimate goal of the General Average Principle is to place the carrier who incurred the loss in as close to a financial position as the carriers for whom the sacrifice was made.

For a full breakdown of General Average as well as a look at the York-Antwerp Rules which govern this principle please click here.

If you are facing legal action with regard to a General Average claim or have any further questions, please contact us.

 

Other useful links:

http://www.shapiro.com/resource-center/resources/cargo-insurance-what-is-general-average/

Unpacking Warehouse Liens

Warehouses are massive repositories of risk and are responsible for holding, in many cases, millions of dollars in property. Because of this huge responsibility, warehouses have the right to contractually limit liability for loss or damage, and to issue liens to protect themselves from unpaid storage bills. A common inquiry among NVOCCs, forwarders, and warehousemen alike, is whether or not they have a legitimate lien on the cargo in their possession. The answer depends on the execution of a detailed  series of  steps that have been adopted in every U.S. state through the  Uniform Commercial Code.  This simple outline serves to help unpack these steps so that you can make certain that your warehouse receipt is compliant with Florida Statutes, and you obtain the full lien privileges provided under the law.

A Warehouseman’s Lien is a security interest that gives the warehouse keeper the right to retain possession of the stored property until their rental and/ or warehouse charges are paid in full. The failure to pay for the agreed upon services may allow the lien holder to keep possession of, and indeed sell, the property involved.  Liens are normally very hard to obtain: you only have one if it was either  A) expressly given to you by the cargo owner; or B) given to you by statute. Warehousemen fall into the latter category, and thus, do not have to ask for lien privileges. They do, however, have to have a proper warehouse receipt in order for the lien to be enforceable.  For more limitations on what can be claimed as a lien click here.   The general structure of the receipt must be in accordance with the following (in Florida it is Statute 677.202, but every state has its own numbering systems):

  • A warehouse receipt does not need to be in any particular form.
  • The following must be included in the warehouse receipt; omission of these parts may lead to loss of lien rights:
    • The location of the warehouse where the goods are stored;
    • The date of issue of the receipt;
    • The consecutive number of the receipt;
    • A statement as to whether the goods received will be delivered to the bearer, to a specified person, or to a specified person on his or her order;
  • The rate of storage and handling charges must be expressly stated  with the exception of good stored under a  field warehousing arrangement.
  • A description of the goods or of the packages containing them must be stated.
  • The signature of the warehouseman (may be made by his or her authorized agent)
  • A statement of ownership for goods owned  by the warehouseman either solely,  jointly, or in common with others.
  • A statement of the amount of advances made and of liabilities incurred for which the warehouseman claims a lien or security interest (Florida Statutes 677.209). If the precise amount of such advances made or liabilities incurred is unknown to the warehouseman or to his agent  at the time of the issue of the receipt, a statement of the fact that advances have been made or liabilities incurred and the purpose thereof is sufficient.

It is important to note that if the lien is not “continuing”, meaning that if you release without first collecting your due, then the lien is gone and you are simply an unsecured creditor.  If this is not the case, and you have secured a proper warehouse receipt, you are wholly within your rights to retain the cargo until payment of all storage. A detailed look into the effects of liens and its implications for customers can be found here

If you have any questions about this topic or would like to speak with a member of our experienced legal team, call our office at (800) 583-0250.

In our next discussion of Warehouse Liens, we will discuss Bills of Landing and Business Terms and Conditions.