Customs seizes $4.4 million in counterfeit products in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

counterfeit seizure

Images of the seized items. Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release – Customs agents in Puerto Rico seized counterfeit products with an estimated msrp of $15 million dollars with an actual purchase price of $4.4 million.

In another seizure, CBP officers conducted a 6-day operation in January where they seized 73 packages with intellectual property rights violations totaling $1.8 million.

In a 6-day special operation this January, CBP officers intercepted 73 packages with IPR violations valued at an estimated MSRP of $1. 8 million.

The seized items included counterfeit watches, jewelry, bags, clothing, sunglasses and featured luxury brands such as Pandora, Tous, Nike, Rolex, Hublot, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc.

The rest of the news releases restates the danger of using and buying counterfeit goods and the impact of counterfeit goods on business revenue while also saying the proceeds from counterfeit purchases fund illicit businesses.

If you have a customs seizure for alleged IPR violations, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at dh@gjatradelaw.com or call/text: 832-896-6288.

Customs seizes $3.7 million in counterfeit watches at JFK airport.

Seized Watches

Image of seized watches, source: CBP.gov website

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, Customs officers in mid-January seized a shipment of counterfeit watches from Hong Kong with an estimated manufacturer suggested retail price of $3.7 million dollars.

The watches seized infringed upon Rolex, Hublot, Nike, Michael Kors and other trademarks.

If you have had a shipment seized and Customs issued you a detention notice, seizure notice or you received a civil or criminal penalty, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288, office 713-932-1540 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP Seizes $129k in counterfeit goods.

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Screenshot of seized goods. Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized $129,000 worth of counterfeit consumer goods. The seizure occurred at Dulles International Airport in late December when someone picked up a shipment described as “shoes bags scars”.

CBP officers examined the shipment and found 90 items of designer brand name shoes, bags, purses, belts and scarves. The officers suspected the shipments to be counterfeit and detained the merchandise.

Typically – CBP will send photos to the trademark holder to verify authenticity.  And as expected, most (all) trademark holders will determine the items to be counterfeit.

If you have had a counterfeit seizure, currency seizure or other detention/seizure by Customs, contact experienced trade and seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

$1.7 million in fake Nike shoes seized by CBP.

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According to the CBP media release, CBP officers in New York/Newark seized nearly 9,024 pairs of counterfeit Nike speakers. If genuine Nike products, the total value of the shipment equaled almost $1.7 million dollars.

The shipment of sneakers was from Dongguan City. Dongguan is a city in Guangdong (Canton) Province and borders Shenzhen and Hong Kong. When CBP suspects goods to be counterfeit, CBP will take photos and submit the photos or samples to the trademark holder. In this case CBP’s Apparel Footwear and Textiles Center for Excellence and Expertise sent the images to Nike where the images were determined to represent fake shoes.

The rest of the news release mentions ICE and Homeland Security Investigations will continue to investigate and look into the destination address in Chino, California. Given the value of the funds and the referral to ICE and HSI, it is likely CBP will look further into this shipment and may involve criminal charges for the importer of record.

If you have had your shipment seized on the basis of suspected counterfeit goods, or if you receive a penalty notice or seizure notice, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.comdhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

 

 

CBP seizes wall charges bearing counterfeit “UL” markings.

UL

By Underwriters Laboratories (Underwriters Laboratories) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A U. S. Customs and Border Protection media release today reported that CBP officers at the Port of New York/Newark seized wall chargers with counterfeit UL markings.

What is UL?
Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is a worldwide safety consulting and certification company based in Illinois. UL will test products and issue a UL mark. The UL mark means that someone from UL has tested a representative sample of a product and such product meets defined requirements based on UL’s published and nationally recognized safety standards.

Back to the seized wall chargers –
The seizure occurred back in late September when CBP officers inspection a shipment of imported merchandise for possible Intellectual Property Rights violations. Import Specialists from the CBP’s Electronics Center of Excellence and Expertise (eCEE) determined that 150,000 wall chargers had counterfeit UL markings.

The total MSRP of the wall chargers, if genuine is estimated to be $2.7 million.

My thoughts?
Customs places liability for counterfeit goods on the Importer of Record. It is important for the IOR to verify with the shipper that goods do not contain any counterfeit markings and meet all other requirements before importation to the US. This is especially true since the IR bears all the risk and loss from seizures for IPR violations.

If you or anyone you know has a customs seizure or received a penalty for IPR violations, contact experienced customs and trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Customs seizes counterfeit Mercedez parts valued over $1.8 million.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized suspected counterfeit Mercedes Benz auto parts in Philadelphia shipped from China New Jersey. If the parts were authentic, the value of the counterfeit goods retailed at approximately $1,764,126 in value.

The shipment from Yangshan, China was labeled as “other parts and accessories of motor vehicles”. The trademarked Mercedes logo and origin of the shipment raised CBP’s suspicion of the authenticity of the goods.

Without going into detail, the CBP media release says CBP has their own inspection methods and use computer databases to find counterfeit goods that may be imported to the US.

If you had your shipment seized for suspected counterfeit of goods – contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

Homeland Security records largest counterfeit seizure ever – $500 million.

chanel paris eua de parfum bottle

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A little bit of background – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is a component of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE is a federal agency under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and responsible for enforcing over 400 federal statutes within the United States.

Last Thursday (August 16th, 2018) was the culmination of a six year investigation into the importation and sale of fake luxury goods – ending with HSI officials reported seizing enough counterfeit luxury bags and belts to fill 22 shipping containers and the arrest of 33 people, all of Chinese descent.

HSI reported the seized goods included popular luxury brands “including Gucci, Tory Burch, Hermes, Coach, Burberry, Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton” along with knockoff Chanel perfume.

With an estimated loss in retail value of nearly $500 million, this seizure is the largest counterfeit seizure in history, besting the 2012 seizure of $325 million worth of fake goods.

If you have had problems with CBP seizing goods due to alleged counterfeit or trademark violations, call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Customs broker and freight forwarder found liable for “use of a counterfeit mark in commerce”.

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A New Jersey U.S. District Court found a customs broker and freight forwarder liable for trademark infringements on Nike trademarks. The customs broker was ordered to pay $240,000 in damages and the freight forwarder will pay a yet undetermined amount.

The court held the broker and forwarder liable because they determined the arrangement of transportation and creation of documents related to the importation of the shipments constituted “use in commerce” of the Nike trademarks under the Lanham Act even though forwarder argued it had no physical control or knowledge of the shipments. Unfortunately for the broker and forwarder, the Lanham Act is a “strict liability statute” and does not consider intent or lack of intent in whether someone is liable. Speeding violations are the most common type of “strict liability statute” in that the act of speeding is the violation and it is not required to have the intent to speed. In this instance, the “use of a counterfeit mark in commerce” is the violation – with intent only a factor when determining the damages.

According to the case, (Nike, Inc. v. Eastern Ports Custom Brokers, Inc., et al., D.N.J. 2:11-cv-4390, July 19, 2018), the forwarder created the bill of lading, made arrangements for the cargo, and gave the broker a POA to act on behalf of the importer. The court ultimately found the broker and forwarder “played an active role in arranging for transportation” of the footwear and took “responsibility for the goods and making representations regarding the nature of the goods”. These actions were enough of an “use in commerce” under the Lanham Act and therefore liable for the trademark infringement.

One interesting note is the forwarder lost the case because they were in default after their lawyer withdrew in 2013. Default means a party to a lawsuit was properly served and noticed, but failed to make an appearance at any of the required hearings. For example, all parties are required to provide notice of trial dates and hearing dates. Proper notices were most likely sent by Nike to the forwarder – however, on the day of trial, no one made an appearance on behalf of the forwarder and as such lost the case for because they were in default. The forwarder, being in default, did not make an appearance and had no way to present any evidence to support their position.

Definitely an interesting case and the first time I’ve heard of a forwarder and broker liable for trademark infringement.

If you have any questions about this case and are would like to know how this ruling may impact your business as a broker or forwarder, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Fake Super Bowl rings seized by CBP.

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According to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP agents in Philadelphia seize fake Super Bowl rings worth $1 million dollars if authentic.

I did a quick search and found listings for Super Bowl rings ranging in price from $9.99 to $99.99 on alibaba.com. The CBP media release claims authorized replicas retail from around $10,000, but I did not seem to find a link to purchase authorized replicas.

CBP seized the 108 counterfeit rings because they contain trademarks belonging to the National Football League. CBP noted the poor craftsmanship of the rings from Hong Kong and the NFL confirmed the rings to be counterfeit.

If you have had property seized by Customs, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com, there may be something we can do to protect you from further civil or criminal liability.

CBP seizes hundreds of fake World Cup soccer jerseys.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials in El Paso seized four shipments shipped from China containing counterfeit Mexican national team soccer jerseys. The estimated retail value of these jerseys, if authentic, totals $66,390.

Prior to this seizure, CBP also seized 4 other shipments with Mexico, Germany and Brazil team jerseys totaling $47,340.

The CBP media release claims counterfeit goods harm the competitiveness of legitimate businesses and the items may be of poor quality and contain health and safety hazards to consumers. El Paso has made close to 400 seizures of goods for intellectual property rights violations with a seized MSRP of more than $3.8 million.

If you or someone you know has had their shipments seized by Customs, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.