Custom seizes counterfeit baseball jerseys.

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According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), officers seized 314 counterfeit jerseys for Phliadelphia Phillies player, Bryce Harper. If authentic, the estimated value of the counterfeit totals over $44,040.

CBP’s media release further states the harm to the wearer (potential use of flammable textiles) and the economic harm to the US (trademark holders lose revenue, loss of revenue for American workers) and the funding of black market activities such as human trafficking.

If you have had a CBP seizure for the suspicion of counterfeit items, contact experienced customs seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Counterfeit Juul pods seized by CBP.

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Seized Juul pods. Source: US CBP

Earlier this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Philadelphia reported a seizure of more than 1,152 counterfeit Juul pods, three chargers and a Juul device from overseas.

According to the CBP, the description of the item was “plastic pipe sample” from China. Upon inspection, CBP found 36 cartons of Juul pods suspected to be counterfeit.

Working with CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise, officers verified the merchandise were counterfeits through the trademark holders.

CBP claims the merchandise has a MSRP of $4,700 if authentic. The rest of the media release reminds the public of the danger posed by unregulated manufacturing facilities that may result in products that are hazardous to the public.

If you or someone you know has had a customs seizure, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu for information on how we may be able to get your goods released. Call or text 832-896-6288 or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$270,000 worth of counterfeit luxury hats seized by Customs.

Images of the seized hats. Source: CBP media release website.

According to a Customs media release, Dulles Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 450 counterfeit hats worth about $207,000 if they were the genuine articles. The hats were seized as they arrived from Washington Dulles International airport destined for US addresses.

The shipment of hats contained brands such as Gucci, Chanel, LV, Supreme, Adidas and Louis Vuitton.

If you have had a seizure of goods suspected of being counterfeit, contact experienced customs seizure attorney David Hsu at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, or text/call 832.896.6288.

Can you import refurbished cell phones?

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I get asked this question a lot – and the answer is yes you can. However, cell phones are frequently detained and seized by Customs.

Why are imported refurbished phones detained or seized?
Customs enforces the intellectual property and trademarks of any manufacturer or holder of intellectual property. Apple and Samsung have filed their trademarks and word marks with Customs and CBP may seize your phones (and batteries if they are branded Samsung).

I thought there was an exception for counterfeit goods?
I previously posted on my blog about the counterfeit exception for 1 item. However, that exception only applies if it is carried on you, it will not apply if the counterfeit item is sent by mail.

But my goods are genuine iPhones, why are they still seized?
When suspected counterfeit goods are seized – CBP will take a photo and send to Apple, Samsung (or other property rights holder). The trademark holder will more likely than not tell CBP the phone is counterfeit. From my experience, I have never had any trademark holder agree that the phone is authentic.

How do I know if my cell phone shipment is seized?
Customs will send you a Notice of Seizure signed by the Fines, Penalties and Forfeiture officer of the port where your phones were seized. You have 30 days from the day of the letter to respond. Please note the 30 days is not from the day you receive the notice.

What if I don’t respond to the seizure notice?
If you do nothing, then the goods will be forfeited after the response date. Forfeited means destroyed. Customs may then issue you a civil penalty based on the value of the phones. The value will be retail and not reflect what you paid wholesale or your actual cost. The valuation of the shipment is important because that value is used to determine civil penalties.

I have more questions!
Call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com. There are some things we can do and time is of the essence – call now, no cost or obligation.

CNBC says US China trade war increases the amount of counterfeits – true or false?

silver iphone x with airpods

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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.

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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: dh@gjatradelaw.com or David’s catch-all email: attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP Officers seize counterfeit iPhones.

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Photo of seized iPhones at Pembina. Source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers at the Pembina officers seize counterfeit iPhones at the Pembina Port of Entry in North Dakota.

The iPhones were seized for being in violation of intellectual property rights (IPR) regulations. The shipment contained 39 cell phones with the Apple trademark and have a retail price of $31,200.

The rest of the media release talks about CBP enforcing intellectual property, how counterfeit goods funds criminal activity, and counterfeit goods may be made out of materials that are harmful to the health and safety of the users..

The article didn’t go into detail, but here are a few other things you should know from my handling of iPhone seizures:

  1. Usually the violation is for a counterfeit use of the iPhone wordmark or the Apple logo. The “Notice of Seizure” will tell you what was violated. You have to read this carefully and must respond within 30 days to a notice of seizure.
  2. You will also get a letter from Apple’s law firm asking you to stop importing iPhone goods.
  3. Be sure your address is current and accurate with CBP, they will only mail notices to the address on the shipment.
  4. If you get a Seizure Notice, you have 4 options: file a petition, offer in compromise, abandon the goods or refer to court.
  5. The value of the iPhones given by CBP will be much higher than you paid, as I believe they value the goods at the MSRP at the time they are first released.
  6. Why does the value matter? The value of the goods will be used to calculate any penalties. For example, civil penalties may be 3x the value of the shipment.
  7. CBP and Customs problems don’t go away – CBP has 5 years to go after an importer. CBP isn’t going away and neither will your seizure.

If you have had your shipment of iPhones seized, contact me. I’ve represented many cell phone importers of iPhones, Samsung and their accessories and there are things we can do but time is of the essence.

Contact me at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

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 attorney.dave@yahoo.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 attorney.dave@yahoo.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 attorney.dave@yahoo.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 attorney.dave@yahoo.com for immediate assistance.