The sources which you are importing may contain keywords (Chapter 13, Keyword substitution). For example, the vendor may use cvsnt or some other system which uses similar keyword expansion syntax. If you just import the files in the default fashion, then the keyword expansions supplied by the vendor will be replaced by keyword expansions supplied by your own copy of cvsnt. It may be more convenient to maintain the expansions supplied by the vendor, so that this information can supply information about the sources that you imported from the vendor.
To maintain the keyword expansions supplied by the vendor, supply the -ko option to cvs import the first time you import the file. This will turn off keyword expansion for that file entirely, so if you want to be more selective you'll have to think about what you want and use the -k option to cvs update or cvs admin as appropriate.