Tag: import requirements

CBP Seizes Counterfeit Money in Ecuadoran Import

This story does not involve a customs currency seizure because counterfeit bills are not considered a monetary instrument under the definitions applicable to 31 USC 5316, but they do present their own problems. Obviously, counterfeit currency is illegal in its own right, whether or not it has been reported to Customs or not. In this instance, the counterfeit bills were not found on an arriving traveller who was asked to make a report about the currency he was transporting, but was found hidden in an inbound shipment from Ecuador. The full story is HERE, and what follows is an excerpt:

Counterfeit Currency Seized
Counterfeit Currency Seized

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at John F. Kennedy’s International express cargo facility seized $65,200 dollars in counterfeit 100 dollar bills. On March 21, CBP officers found $65,200.00 counterfeit $100 U. S. bills concealed in place mats and a shoe bag from Ecuador. A total of $65,200 (652 – $100.00 notes) of counterfeit U. S. currency was seized; this investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made yet.

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or 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 with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit. Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP

Customs Counterfeit Seizure of Tablet Computers

As part of our ongoing efforts to analyze news in light of the customs laws and keep importers informed of the rights and obligations, we provide the below about a customs counterfeit seizure (original here) for alleged fake tablet computers with illegal counterfeit marks.

Many fail to grasp the importance of customs seizing counterfeit merchandise. In the picture below which is from the original customs news release had the caption “A tablet computer with counterfeit marks for SD.” Well, I guess… “Tarjeta SD” does translate to “SD Card” but I think the seizure for SD violative marks may have rested on more than just this word appearing inside the operating system. Or it may not have. Anyway, on to the story, with our further analysis below:

LAREDO, Texas – The Import Specialist Enforcement Team [“ISET”]  at U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Laredo Port of Entry recently seized a commercial shipment of counterfeit electronic tablets valued at $1.1 million for allegedly infringing on the Amazon, Google, Micro SD and SD registered and Customs Counterfeit Seizurerecorded U.S. trademarks.

In the recently finalized enforcement action, a CBP import specialist at World Trade Bridge selected a shipment of polymer lithium operated screens, electronic tablets, for a secondary examination. During the examination, CBP import specialists observed that the electronic tablets bore the Amazon, Google, Micro SD and SD trademarks, all of which are trademark recorded with CBP. A legal review by CBP Headquarters Intellectual Property Rights Branch indicated the imported tablets bore potentially counterfeit marks. A license administrator for SD confirmed that the use of their trademark was unauthorized. CBP’s ISET determined on August 14 that the shipment of 11,540 electronic tablets lacked legal authorization from SD-3C LLC, Google Inc., and Amazon Technologies Inc., and that the tablets were counterfeit and subject to seizure. CBP subsequently seized the tablets, which carried a manufacturer’s suggested retail price, had the trademarks been genuine, of $1.1 million.

“This is a significant seizure of tablets found to be infringing on three separate trademarks recorded with CBP,” said Joseph Misenhelter, CBP port director, Laredo Port of Entry. “Seizures like these ensure that valuable intellectual property is protected from harm from would-be knockoff products and help restore the integrity of America’s economy.”

Like we have explained previously, this importer stands to face a hefty penalty — around $1 million — for this customs counterfeit seizure. We can help you if you are facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit trademarked merchandise. 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).

Call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or CONTACT US HERE. 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. Consult a customs lawyer who is well acquainted with the laws enforced by the customs service and who can judge the legality of the transaction, by even getting a prospective ruling from customs in advance.

Please read these customs counterfeit seizure articles:

Country of Origin Marking Requirements

In a global economy where a person can find products from every corner of the globe consumers are sometimes inclined to make their purchasing decisions based on the country of origin (meaning where the product is made and where it is imported from). Americans, for sure, like to base their decision of whether to buy certain products based on country of origin. We have all probably, at one time or another, been told to buy American, to look for a made in U.S.A. label, or not to buy anything from China or some other country. My grandpa, who grew up during World War II, wouldn’t buy anything made in Japan or Germany, and for a  time during the Iraq War there was a call among some to boycott French products for their unwillingness to join the U.S. efforts.

This sentiment is nothing new, and in fact, is the reason that all imports into the U.S. must be marked with the country of origin. Recognizing this tendency, Congress

Made in China Image
Country of Origin Mark

authored 19 U.S.C. § 1304 in order to specify the various rules and exceptions to the country of origin marking requirement, and set out penalties for failing to mark and/or properly identify the country of origin of imported products.

Marking Requirements for Country of Origin

This law plainly states that every foreign products or article entering the U.S. must bear a mark indicating the English name of its country of origin, unless the article fits into a listed exception, discussed below. The country of origin mark itself must meet two qualifications, simply stated:

  • First, it must be conspicuously located on the article;
  • Second, it must be legible, indelible, and permanent;

Id. at §1304(a). The reason for these requirements to enable the “ultimate purchaser” (i.e., the person who will receive the article in its imported form 19 CFR § 134.1(d)) to readily identify the article’s country of origin in case that will affect his decision to buy or not buy a particular product. Customs can require that certain articles be marked in a specific manner, without exception, by stamping, cast-mold lettering, etching, engraving, or cloth labels (e.g., coffee, tea, spices, manholes, pipes, fittings, etc.). 19 CFR § 134.42.

Interestingly, the country of origin marking requirement means if you cannot find a country of origin marking on a product or its container, you may presume that it was made in the United States, because there is no marking requirement under this law for non-imported products (it could also mean that the country of origin marks were intentionally destroyed, removed, or concealed, or that Customs failed to intercept violative country of origin marking).

Exceptions to the Country of Origin Marking Requirements

Exceptions to the country of origin marking requirement typically arise when marking an article is extremely difficult or purposeless to mark. For example, the statute can exempt particular articles which are physically incapable of being marked, cannot be marked prior to their shipment to the U.S., or are imported for the private use of the importer and not intended for sale in the U.S. Id. at §1304(a)(3). Even in those cases, however, while marking the article itself may be excepted, the law still requires the importer to mark the country of origin on the container of the article, like the packaging it comes in. Id. at §1304(b).

Exemptions could be available in a variety of circumstances.  For example, marking a product could be economically prohibitive to the article’s importation or injure the article, or the origin could be apparent without explicitly marking the article.

How U.S. Customs Treats Mismarked or Unmarked Imports

In the absence of the required country of origin mark on imported articles, Customs will ensure that unmarked imported products are denied entry in commerce, or if already released from Customs custody, they will be required to be returned via redelivery notice. Customs may impose and collect an additional duty of 10% of the article’s value before allowing release, an amount in addition to any other duties normally owed, if any. Id. at §1304(i). Before release, Customs will  require that the article be marked with the correct country of origin and until marked duties paid.  Id. at §1304(j).

What to do When U.S. Customs Takes Issue with Country of Origin and its Marking

If you have a question about proper country of origin marking, identifying the actual country of origin, and otherwise determining how to comply with the Customs rules concerning proper country of origin marking for imported products, you should consult with an attorney experienced in the customs and related laws. It is possible to get a prospective ruling from U.S. Customs product which you intend to import, and an attorney can arguing for a particular manner of country of origin marking. Contact out office today to discuss your problem and your options.

Feel free to use this article to supplement your own knowledge, but do not let it serve as a substitute for legal counsel familiar with the various restrictions and exceptions of the law.