Seizures of Counterfeit Goods a Priority for CBP
Reaffirming its commitment to keeping counterfeit merchandise from reaching consumers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been busy in recent months. Recently, CBP announced that its officers at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport seized 192 separate shipments of fake merchandise between November 1, 2010 and January 17, 2011. During this period, the seizures included counterfeit designer purses, sunglasses, cell phones, and sports jerseys. According to CBP estimates, the seized items totaled an estimated worth of $2 million.
Additionally, CBP announced that its inspectors at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex were able to seize a shipment of counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes. The shipment from China contained over 22,000 cartons of fake Marlboro cigarettes. In an effort to get the shipment through customs, the shippers of the merchandise provided false invoicing information, identifying the contents as “hang tags and hang plugs.” However, an examination of the shipment by CBP import specialists and inspectors revealed its true contents.
With countless seizures of illegal goods being made, CBP has signaled that stopping counterfeit goods is a main priority. According to CBP, the sale of counterfeit goods is problematic for a few key reasons. First, fraudulent goods may be dangerous to consumers, as the imposters often appear to be of the same quality but have the potential to be inferior and present added safety risks to unsuspecting consumers. Additionally, CBP notes that counterfeit products negatively affect trademark owners who have invested time and money developing their products. Lastly, criminal organizations are often involved in the sale of counterfeit merchandise to launder the organizations illegal profits.
With the amount of counterfeit goods being attempting make entry into the U.S. is unlikely to slow, CBP is expected to have a busy year ahead.
Lawyers at Fuerst Ittleman PL are experienced in handling issues and litigation regarding products that are either counterfeit or otherwise infringe on legal trademarks.