CBP Detroit seized counterfeit merchandise at the Fort Street Cargo Facility in the last few days. The headline and the tweet sent out by DFO Perry says that it’s “nearly $400k” worth of goods, but probably that is the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price); so it’s unlikely that is the price actually paid for the merchandise by the importer.
Here’s the tweet:
.@CBP Officers at the Port of Detroit recently seized nearly $400k worth of #counterfeit merchandise from China. I’m proud of our cargo team in #Detroit for the extraordinary job they do each day! Read more here: https://t.co/H1pI6hOSXf pic.twitter.com/I2PyDfXR32
— Director of Field Operations Christopher Perry (@DFODetroit) May 21, 2020
What can the importer expect? If they they are truly counterfeit, they will not be released/returned to the importer. And, if they are truly counterfeit, they should be nervous about the possibility of receiving a $400,000 penalty from customs. CBP penalties for trademark violations are based on the MSRP value of the goods, not the transaction value (price paid or payable).
Here’s the rest of the story:
DETROIT— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intercepted nearly $400,000 in counterfeit textiles and electronic merchandise at the Fort Street Cargo Facility.
On May 18, multiple purported Bluetooth products to include headphones, valued at approximately $325,000; smart bands, valued at approximately $59,000; various speakers, valued at more than $4,000; and Star Wars hats, valued at nearly $10,000, were discovered when officers and import specialists selected the shipment for an enhanced inspection.
Closer examination of the intended imports, which originated from China, revealed the branding and overall quality of the articles were not consistent with genuine products. Additionally, the electronic goods were not registered with Bluetooth.
The counterfeit goods were subject to various intellectual property rights violations and ultimately seized.
“The importation of counterfeit merchandise poses a significant risk to the vitality of the U.S. economy, our national security and the health and safety of the American people,” said Devin Chamberlain, Port Director. “Our enforcement efforts at the border protect the integrity of private industry, while maintaining the inventory of safe, quality goods for the end user in the U.S.”
CBP may issue civil fines to violators and, where appropriate, refer cases to other agencies for criminal investigation.
What if I get a penalty from CBP?
If you get a penalty from CBP, you should definitely file a petition for mitigation of the penalty. You could get a substantial reduction in the penalty amount through mitigation offered by the Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures Office. We have a lot of experience of getting great results for clients on their CBP penalty cases, including substantial reductions and even some cancellations. You can see some history of our success is HERE.
Of course, results will vary from case to case, and no result could be guaranteed. Customs has maintains a list of mitigating factors and aggravating factors that it looks for, and which should part of the argument and analysis of any petition that is filed for them; without a careful and thoughtful analysis of those factors that customs looks for, you may end up pay more than necessary.
If you have had your merchandise seized or have received a notice of penalty from customs, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer about the possibility of getting your penalty reduced, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions and in penalty cases by customs