CNBC reports that the US China trade war could lead to an increase in counterfeit goods for 3 reasons:
(1) Flooding of products where CBP cannot catch all fakes, especially through shipments of e-packets which weigh 4 pounds or less. The article says the port at JFK receives 120,000 e-packets a day.
(2) Counterfeiters using 3D printing to create “super fakes” that are very similar to the legitimate product.
(3) Counterfeiters hijacking well known brands on e-commerce sites by filing a document with the trademark office of an email address change. Once the email address change is approved, they go to Amazon to have them recognize their email as the legitimate source and take down the legitimate product.
Here’s my thoughts on this:
1. E-Packet shipments have already been overwhelming CBP for the past 2 years or longer. A 2017 CBP report already mentioned the influx in e-packet delivery as causing more counterfeit goods to slip through.
2. The trade war and increase in these small shipments are not related. The rise in e-packet delivery is due to websites such as alibaba, dhgate, wish and all the other e-commerce platforms that allow US consumers to buy direct from Chinese manufacturers.
3. There is some confusion with buyers in the US who cite Customs Directive No. 2310-011A. This directive allows individuals to bring in (1) one counterfeit article, (2) for personal use, (3) not for sale and (4) it is declared. Some people confuse the directive as allowing shipments of counterfeit goods to be delivered to someone in the US. However, the directive says that the counterfeit good/gray market good must “accompany” you and therefore it cannot be sent.
4. I have to disagree with the article about the use of 3-D technology to create counterfeit goods. Most counterfeit items from China are from the same factory that produces the legitimate product. Sometimes the companies change vendors, leaving the previous vendor with the same tooling, product specifications and know-how to create the same product as the legitimate product (althought lacking the license to do so).
5. There isn’t a need for 3-D printing of counterfeit goods. The fake Otterbox is probably manufactured by the previous OEM manufacturer in which Otterbox sourced their products.
6. Item 3 about Amazon – the CNBC article actually says there has never been a confirmed example of this happening. The main reason is because Amazon will always email the previous email address to verify a request for a change of email was actually filed. The article says an attorney has had 15-16 instances of this happening but there has been no actual success by a counterfeiter.
I don’t see a correlation between the trade war and increase in counterfeit goods. There will always be a demand for counterfeit goods, and any country will have an incentive to supply such demand – trade war or not.
If you received a letter from customs seizing your merchandise because they believe the goods are counterfeit – contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or David’s catch-all email: email@example.com.