CBP Seizes $1.2B in counterfeits in FY 2014

In addition to currency seizures and drug seizures, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizes counterfeit merchandise imported into the United States. CBP considers counterfeit interception to be a priority trade issue. Customs has released their annual statistics for 2014 wherein they breakdown what they seized throughout the past fiscal year. The report includes the total volume of seizures, value, and countries from which the counterfeit goods were exported. The summary from Customs is repeated below:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) today announced the fiscal year 2014 results of an aggressive enforcement program to protect the United States from counterfeit and pirated goods. CBP and HSI are the components within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR).

“Protecting intellectual property rights is a critical part of CBP’s trade enforcement mission and critical to protecting American consumers,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “In 2014, strong partnerships with our federal enforcement counterparts, effective targeting of high risk shipments and frontline interceptions of cargo at America’s ports of entry produced more than 23,000 seizures of fake products worth an estimated $1.2 billion that could have cheated or threatened the health of American consumers.”

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In fiscal year 2014, there were 23,140 intellectual property rights seizures with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price or MSRP of $1.2 billion, the value of the goods had they been genuine.  In addition, 144 shipments of circumvention devices were seized for violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  CBP also enforced 44 exclusion orders in fiscal year 2014. Since 2007, CBP has identified intellectual property rights enforcement as a priority trade mission. Although IPR seizures declined slightly in 2014 from 2013, CBP recorded its third busiest year for seizures since 2005.

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Wearing apparel and accessories continue to be the number one commodity classification based on number of seizures with 7,922 seizures or 28 percent.  Watches and jewelry are the largest commodity classification by value with an estimated MSRP of $375 million or 31 percent.

The People’s Republic of China remains the primary source economy for counterfeit and pirated goods seized with a total value of $772 million, representing 63 percent of all IPR seizures by MSRP. Hong Kong ranks second with $310 million or 25 percent.

Tactical interagency collaboration with the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) resulted in 683 arrests, with 454 indictments and 461 convictions.

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE).If you have had merchandise seized by customs because they allege it is counterfeit and contains trademark violations and/or have a received a notice of penalty for importing alleged counterfeits or for making an importation contrary to law, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Please read these other articles: