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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio assists Florida maker of Donald Trump talking pens



Marco Rubio may be an adversary of Donald Trump's on the campaign trail but the Florida Senator lent a hand to a Clearwater-based businessman who had a shipment of Trump talking pens held by Customs over copyright questions.

Rubio's office confirmed a case worker made an inquiry about the shipment, but stressed it was routine constituent work. The pens are still being held.

The businessman, Jeff Kamhi, emailed Rubio's office:

US Customs and Border Protection just seized my order of Donald Trump Talking Pens for alleged Trademark and Copyright infringement. I contacted Border Protection and spoke with a woman named Sgt. Butler asking her what statute I violated but she was unable to give me an answer. She said these pens would be held for 30 days and then possibly an additional 30 days while they determine if I have violated any regulations. As a small business owner, this type of delay will cost me tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and severely hurt my company.

I did try to explain to Sgt. Butler that these pens were protected under the Fair Use clause of the copyright law. I asked her to contact Donald Trump and show him the pens as I think he would be flattered and honored by the way I portrayed him.  I have made political toys and novelties for years, dating back to Bill Clinton, and this is the first time my products have ever been stopped by US Customs. I hope you can help me as you seem to be my last recourse. 

A response, signed by Rubio, read: 

I regret to learn of the problem you are experiencing with the confiscation of your goods by CBP. It is disappointing that your concerns have not received the appropriate attention. The letter says a case worker had contacted Customs and would follow up.

A message to Customs has not been returned today. Kamhi says a Hillary Clinton pen did not get hung up by Customs.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 3:31pm]


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