Philadelpha CBP seize 100 counterfeit Yeti mugs.

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Screengrab of the Yeti.com website.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on June 19th, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized 100 counterfeit mugs branded with the name of the poular cooler company Yeti.

The items were shipped from Hong Kong, China in April and labeled “fishing reel iron products”. CBP noted the “poor packaging” and “substandard quality” and detained the shipment.

After a shipment is detained, Customs will usually send a sample or photos to the trademark/word mark holder to verify authenticity of the mark. In this case, Yeti likely replied and told CBP the items were counterfeit.

In the event the trademark holder notifies CBP of the unauthorized use of a registered mark, CBP will seize the items and send a “Notice of Seizure” to the importer of record.

Philadelphia CBP has been busy with five counterfeit seizures in the past 3 months. Prior seizures included counterfeit jewelry and luxury watches.

If you have had your shipments seized by Customs, and you receive a “Notice of Seizure”, you should take action – call experienced seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by  email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. CBP seizures do not just go away and you may expose yourself and your company to personal, criminal and civil liability – call today!

 

 

 

 

CBP seizes $3 million in counterfeit jewelry and watches.

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Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

In the second major seizure for the month of May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Philadelphia seized 64 pieces on April 3rd from a shipment coming from Hong Kong. If authentic, this seizure and a prior March seizure result in a combined manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of over $3 million.

The packaging indicated the shipment contained bangles and arrived from Hong Kong. With the large amounts of shipments from overseas, CBP is unable to inspect every package – instead will focus on inspecting shipments sent from places known to counterfeit items. Upon inspection of these bangles, CBP also found the counterfeit jewelry would be in packaging of poor quality.

This time, CBP officers found the package containing bracelets, earrings and rings bearing the Cartier and Tiffany brands.

If you or anyone you know has had their shipment seized by Customs, contact experienced Customs seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. Customs will seek civil and sometimes criminal penalties for importers that violate intellectual property rights – call today.

CBP seizes more than $1.5 million in counterfeit hangbags and belts.

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Credit: CBP.gov. CBP officers at the Port of Tacoma
seized merchandise that violated the
trademark rights of Chanel, Luis Vuitton,
Calvin Klein, Gucci and Fendi.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) release, the Port of Tacoma seized counterfeit handbags and belts, among other high-end items totaling more than $1.5 million.

Without going into details, the press release indicated the counterfeit items were “of poor quality and violated the trademark rights of Chanel, Luis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Gucci and Fendi”.

CBP enforces over 500 U.S. trade laws and regulations (such as trademark violations of the handbags) for the over 47 federal agencies with a goal of “protecting the U.S. economy and its consumers from harmful imports and unfair trade practices”.

If you or someone you know had their imports seized due to CBP’s belief the items are counterfeit, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu, 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com .

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Seize Over 6 Million Counterfeit Cigarettes.

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In mid March of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) commercial fraud agents seized six million counterfeit cigarettes during a warehouse inspection.

The estimated retail price is $1.1 million. CBP import specialists with the Agriculture and Prepared Products Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) in Miami reviewed 600 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes and found multiple trade name protection and trafficking counterfeit goods violations.

CBP cites many dangers to these counterfeit cigarettes – first criminal organizations profit from the sale of counterfeit goods and second, counterfeit cigarettes pose a greater public health risk. CBP also indicates that trademark owners are also hurt and the government also is deprived of tax revenue.

If you or someone you know has had counterfeit cigarettes or any other goods seized by Customs for suspected IP violations or trademark violations – contact experienced Customs attorney David Hsu. Customs holds importers liable for both civil penalties and criminal prosecution. Call 832-896-6288 or e-mail dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

Customs and Border Protection’s 2018 E-Commerce Strategy.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on March 8th, 2018 – CBP released their new strategy to deal with the increase in volume of e-commerce packages into the United States.

The media release is wordy and you are already to go back to Facebook – so here’s a quick cliff notes version of the media release:

1. More people are using the internet to buy direct from China, leading to more small packages entering the US.

2. The large increase in volume of small packages (commonly indicated as “e-packet delivery”) means there is a greater likelihood of things entering the country that should not enter.

3. CBP is worried about a greater entry of items that violate intellectual property rights (fake watches, counterfeit purfume, fake iphones, etc) will make it into the US.

Some highlights of the CBP e-commerce strategy:

1. Educate people to be aware of customs regulations. Not sure how easy it will be to make people aware of customs regulations when people can’t even follow traffic regulations!

2. Partnership with foreign governments

3. Improve data collection from CBP targeting systems and field personnel.

4. The media release includes a lot of buzzwords: “more agile, dynamic workforce that utilizes state-of-art techniques and technology to better target high-risk shipments, improving data collection from CBP targeting systems, and leveraging enforcement partnerships.”

My thoughts:

Personally, I do not believe methods 1-4 will be able to adequately address the increased flow of these small packages from China. I believe CBP has other methods that they are not publicizing, and rightly so. Notifying the public how CBP searches for items that violate IPR, are counterfeit or not allowed for entry into the US would be counter-intuitive and could only lead to foreign manufacturers creating work arounds.

If you are a manufacturer overseas and ship many small package items to the US and want to know how this can effect your business, call experienced trade and customs attorney, David Hsu, 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com

Record Number of Intellectual Property Rights Seizures by Customs in 2017.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) released a report indicating they seized a record number of 34,143 shipments of goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (“IPR”) in 2017. In comparison, 2016 saw about 30,000 shipments seized for counterfeit and pirated products. The total estimated MSRP of the seized goods in 2017 total approximately $1.2 billion.

Other interesting facts in the report:

-90% of the seized counterfeit and pirated goods in 2017 were in express carrier and international mail environments as opposed to containerized shipments.

-15% of the IPR seizures were related to wearing apparel

-48% of the IPR violation seizures were from China (16,538)

-39% of the IPR violation seizures were from Hong Kong

We can expect CBP and ICE to only increase their number of seizures for 2018 as CBP continues with their “The Truth Behind Counterfeits campaign” along with increased awareness of the CBP hotlines to report suspected fraud or illegal trade activity (1-800-BE-ALERT).

If you or anyone you know has had CBP or ICE detain your shipments, or if you received notice from DHL of a Customs seizure – call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288, or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Many importers do not contest the seizure because they feel the value of the shipment doesn’t justify speaking to an attorney – but CBP can and will issue civil penalties after the seizure, call today!

 

$233,000 Worth of Counterfeit Watches Seized by Customs.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on March 1st; CBP officers in Philadelphia seized 54 counterfeit designer brand watches.

CBP officers examined the parcel on January 23rd that was shipped from Hong Kong. The packing list indicated the shipment as containing “watch samples” and upon further inspection, CBP found watches bearing name brands such as Armani, Hublot, Omega,
Rado, Rolex and others. If authentic, the MSRP for the watches totaled $233,209.

As you may or may not know, CBP is tasked with enforcing the intellectual property laws of companies who register their brand with Customs. In this instance, CBP officers with the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEE) inspected the watches, worked with the trademark holders and confirmed the watches were counterfeit.

Some of the tell-tale signs of counterfeit watches include but are not limited to: poor quality packaging of the watch, watch construction (weight, dial movement) and the origin of shipment (from Hong Kong).

CBP frequently seizes counterfeit goods and on a typical day in 2017, CBP seized $3.3 million worth of products for intellectual property rights violations.

If you or someone you know has had your import seized due to counterfeit or trademark violations, contact experienced Customs attorney, David Hsu. Customs can penalize importers civil and criminal penalties, and time there are certain time limitations – call  832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com today.

What is the Customs and Border Protection “Donations Acceptance Program”?

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Short answer – a change to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 allowed CBP and the US General Services Administration to accept real and personal property, money and non-personal services from the private and public sectors. Accepted donations may be used for port of entry construction, alternations, operations and maintenance activities.

According to a February 15, 2018 Customs media release, Proctor and Gamble (P&G) will donate testing devices to CBP officers and trade specialists to assist in determining the legitimacy of the P&G product in an attempt to reduce counterfeit goods entering the US marketplace.

The media release did not specify the type of testing device; however, the testing devices may be related to a 2014 patent filed by P&G for a chemical test kit to test for the presence of active components and qualities of the product that may be missing from counterfeits.

The DAP from P&G may be related to last year’s counterfeit Tide laundry detergent being sold in Austin, Texas at a price far below retail value. The low cost of the product and packaging written in Vietnamese may have been indications of the counterfeit nature of the Tide detergent.

If your imported P&G products have been seized by Customs, contact your experienced customs seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes fake perfume valued over $31 million.

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In the past few months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists in the seaport at Los Angeles have seized over 475,000 bottles of imported perfume bearing counterfeit trademarks. While the cost of the counterfeit perfumes may be low, if genuine, CBP estimates the MSRP of the seized perfumes to retail over $31 million.

CBP’s fiscal year starts October 1, 2017 and since then, CBP officials in Los Angeles have seized 11 shipments with suspected counterfeit marks along with confusingly similar fragrances. As you are aware, CBP enforces the trademarks for companies registered with CBP. The seizues included violations of trademarks belonging to over 34 perfume brands.

According to the CBP news release, the “counterfeit brands included Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Coach, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Guess, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Victoria Secret, and Perry Ellis among others.”

As a general rule, if you purchase perfume at prices “too good to be true”, it is likely the item is counterfeit. The news release indicates the counterfeit perfumes were packaged in boxes and colors resembling the genuine items with fake country of origin markings (“Made in France”) even though the port of origin was China.

CBP is especially vigilent in seizing suspected counterfeit perfumes as these items are placed on the skin and absorbed by the body – counterfeit perfumes may be composed of chemicals harmful to the body and may be made and sold without any product testing.

In FY 2016, CBP seized over $1.4 billion worth of counterfeit goods – if you have had your imports seized and want to speak to an experienced attorney, call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

What is a Customs “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA)”?

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After your property is seized at an airport, border crossing or any of the other 400 ports of entry into the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will send you a “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA)” by certified mail, return receipt requested to the address you provided to CBP at the time of the seizure.

DHS and CBP are required by law to send you the notice under 19 USC 1607 and 19 CFR 162.45. The notice tells you that DHS has seized the items and will intend to “forfeit and sell, or otherwise dispose of according to law”. The final disposition of your seized property ultimately depends on the item seized.

If you do not receive a notice by mail, you can still file a claim within 30 days from the date of the publication of the CBP “Official Notification” posted on the forfeiture.gov website.

If you have had currency, suspected trademarked goods, or any other property seized by Customs, call David Hsu, an experienced customs and trade law attorney who works for you to get your hard earned property and money back. Call or email anytime, 832-896-6288, dhsu@givensjohnston.com.