U.S. Customs Counterfeit Seizure & Penalty; Fake Purses

KFox14’s website has a recent story about a a counterfeit purse seizure by customs with a value of around $12,000. We have previously written articles on trademark infringement gray market goods and trademark infringement, which can help you understand the process more.

The story AVAILABLE HERE on KFox14’s website, in part, says:

In January, 39 Michael Kors purses suspected of being counterfeit were seized at an El Paso port of entry. The purses were part of an international shipment from Hong Kong that was selected for inspection. Officers who were examining the shipment identified the suspect bags and they were turned over to members of the CBP Intellectual Property Branch for further review, officials said.


[ . . . ]

The purses were found to be of poor quality compared to what the brand was known for despite having nearly identical markings, officials said. A notice of seizure was given to the consignee of the shipment on March 10. The value of the seized handbags was estimated at $12,285.

Importing counterfeit items into the United States is a very serious matter. First, it is very likely that after seizure the property will be forfeited and destroyed by the U.S. government if, in fact, they are counterfeit. Once forfeiture is perfected, the person who caused the importation will probably get a notice of penalty from U.S. Custom & Border Protection in the mail for a minimum of $12,285, or the equivalent of the value of the products if they were real. That is what the law says.

The person will have a chance to respond to customs’ notice of penalty with the Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures office by filing a petition for mitigation and ask customs to reduce the penalty based on the presence of certain mitigating factors that customs particularly looks for. Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely. If the person fails to pay the penalty, the government bring a lawsuit against them in federal district court to recover the penalty in the form of a judgment, after which point the government can lien property, garnish bank accounts, and seize property.

If you have had money or merchandise seized by customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. Once your merchandise is seized, Customs may issue a penalty for the violation of law itself. If you have received a notice of penalty from U.S. Customs call our office immediately to discuss the possibility of filing a petition to reduce the penalty amount.

We are able to assist petitions and in seizures by customs nationwide.

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