Tag: counterfeit

CBP Seizes $1.3M Worth of Counterfeit Toys

This is an odd story about a counterfeit seizure case because it’s unclear how customs determined the value of the seizure. Typically, the value of counterfeit seized merchandise is based on it’s MSRP; in other words, what the cost of the goods would be if they were genuine. In this case, the reason the product is counterfeit is an alleged “UL” logo — on what would otherwise be allowed imports, apparently.  Is customs valuing the added value of the UL mark? It is a point I would raise in any petition filed for mitigation of the penalty. The importers should expect to receive a notice of penalty from customs in the next few months.

Laredo, Texas – The Import Specialist Enforcement Team (ISET) at U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Laredo Port of Entry seized a total of 18 commercial shipments of counterfeit rechargeable toys over the summer, for allegedly infringing on the Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) registered and recorded U.S. trademark. The total value of the shipments is nearly $1.3 million.

In the 18 enforcement actions, recently finalized, CBP import specialists from World Trade Bridge selected shipments of rechargeable toys for examination. During the examinations, CBP import specialists noticed that the Customs Penalty for Counterfeit UL Logobattery chargers accompanying each rechargeable toy all bore the UL trademark, which is a U.S. registered trademark recorded with CBP. ISET conducted a review and discovered that the shipments lacked legal authorization documentation to use the recorded trademark   A lead enforcement manager for UL confirmed that the use of their trademark was unauthorized and infringing on their recorded trademark. Given the foregoing, CBP’s ISET determined that the rechargeable toys in the shipments seized bore counterfeit trademarks and were subject to seizure. In these 18 enforcement actions, from late June to early September 2014, CBP subsequently seized a total of 4,671 rechargeable toys, which, had the trademark been genuine, is valued based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, in the amount of $1,292,953.00.

“Our ISET has done it again and through their diligence and attention to detail they prevented toys with chargers baring a counterfeit trademark from entering U.S. commerce and potentially causing harm to children,” said Joseph Misenhelter, CBP port director, Laredo Port of Entry. “Preserving Intellectual Property Rights and import safety are priority trade issues for CBP and our enforcement of these laws helps create a level playing field for all and strengthens the U.S. economy.”

How would you like to cough up $1.3 million for importing goods that bear a counterfeit logo into the United States? Like we have explained previously, this importer stands to face a hefty penalty for this customs counterfeit seizure.

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:

Customs Seizure of Fake Toys & Purses valued at $500k

How would you like to cough up a half million dollars for importing counterfeit and infringing goods into the United States? Like we have explained previously, this importer stands to face a hefty penalty — around $500,000 – for this customs counterfeit seizure of fake toys and purses from China.

People fail to grasp the consequences of importing counterfeits. The reason might be a failure see the harm that it causes to the owner of the trademark, by confusing their purchasers and destroying a reputation for quality, or just not caring about the consequences in quest for making themselves some money. To those and others, I say: Consult a customs attorney who is well acquainted with the laws enforced by the customs service and who can judge the legality of the transaction, even getting advice from customs in advance.

The importers should expect to receive a notice of penalty from customs in the next few months. Here is the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers . . . seized over 200 counterfeit handbags and nearly 50 packages of plastic building blocks, Sept. 29, with an estimated counterfeit toy penaltyManufacturer Suggested Retail Price of more than $500,000.

“Intercepting counterfeit goods protects the trademark holder, the unsuspecting consumer, and strengthens the U.S. economy,” said Houston CBP Area Port Director Dave Fluty. “Import safety and protecting intellectual property rights are priority trade issues.  We will take every opportunity to intercept counterfeit goods entering through this port.”

The shipment, which originated from China, was manifested as bags, plastic toys and jewelryHowever, when CBP officers examined the shipment, cartons of women’s handbags bearing counterfeit Prada, Christian Dior, Michael Kors, and other name brands were discovered.  Also in the shipment were cartons of plastic building blocks bearing the Lego brand.

CBP officers provided images of the items to the different trademark holders who each confirmed that the imported handbags and building blocks were counterfeit and confusingly similar to the genuine brand. The import specialists determined the MSRP value of the goods. The seized items, which were enroute to a Houston store, will be destroyed.

customs penalty for counterfeitHomeland Security Investigations is investigating.

Last year, CBP seized more than $4.7 million in intellectual property rights violations nationwide. Handbags and wallets were the highest valued seized goods with an MSRP estimate of more than $700 million, up from more than $500 million in 2012.

To enforce intellectual property rights, CBP relies on trademark owners registering with the Patent and Trademark Office and by recording the trade name with CBP at e-Recordation.

The trademark holder confirmed they were both counterfeit and confusingly similar? That’s impossible. A counterfeit is something that is indistinguishable, and something that is confusingly similar is considered “infringing” and not a counterfeit. And again, that’s another reason why you need a lawyer to respond to this type of customs actions: oftentimes, customs doesn’t even fully understand what laws they are enforcing!

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: