Hong Kong Customs in the news again – seizing counterfeit dolls (stuffed animals?) from claw machines.

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According to the website insideretail.hk, it Hong Kong Customs authorities seized counterfeit dolls and toys found in “claw machines” as part of “Operation Octopus”. The total seized value of the goods totaled about $38,000 USD.

The article did not specify what type of dolls were counterfeit, but my guess is the stuffed animals were Hello Kitty, Disney or other licensed plush animals. No photo was included in the article – but most likely the word “dolls” here refers to stuffed animals.

HK Customs seized 2700 dolls, 15 claw machines and 5 change machines.

Customs seizes over $100k+ in counterfeit phone cases.

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Photo of the seized counterfeit cases. Source: CBP Media Release website.

CBP officers in air cargo at Washington Dulles international airport seized over $100,000+ in counterfeit designer phone brand cases if authentic.

As seen in the photo above from the Customs media release website, the phone cases included counterfeit marks from LV, Gucci, Nike, Supreme, and other luxury brands.

The media release indicated the Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise, confirmed with trademark holders that the merchandise was counterfeit.

The CBP media release also says counterfeit goods threaten the US economy, health and safety of US citizens and proceeds from sales of counterfeit goods funds criminal activity.

If you or someone you know has had goods seized on suspicion of being counterfeit, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

 

 

$28,000 in unreported currency seized by Customs.

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Image of the seized currency, source: CBP media release website.

According to a CBP media release last Friday, CBP Officers seized approximately $28,000 in unreported currency from travelers bound for Ghana.

CBP was alerted to a women’s carry one by canine where she reported to CBP officers she was carrying $8,000. A subsequent search found $11,500 in her carry-on. The woman then admitted she was traveling with 4 other passengers and they were carrying currency for her. After searching the other four passengers, CBP officers seized an additional $16,354 for a total of $27,854. According to the CBP media release, $154 was returned to the traveler for humanitarian relief and the five travelers were released.

Besides this seizure, CBP also reported seizure of $15,415 in unreported currency from another Ghana-bound traveler.

What is humanitarian relief?
It’s a sum of money Customs can release to people who have had their currency seized. The amount varies, but it is to cover travel expenses.

Is it $10,000 per person or per family?
There is some confusion about the $10,000 requirement. Many believe it is per person, however, it is per family/group. For example, you can’t give each of your kids $10,000 to avoid the reporting requirement. In this media release, the lady admitted to asking her friends to carry the cash for her – known to Customs as “structuring” to avoid reporting requirements.

Do I have to pay any money if I carry more than $10,000 of currency with me?
No, Customs does not charge you a fee to carry more than $10,000. You can carry any amount you want as long as it is reported.

I have more questions – 
I have more answers! Call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com  for immediate answers to your questions.

Nogales CBP Officers Seize Drugs and Unreported Currency.

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According to a CBP news release, CBP officers arrested two Mexican nationals and a US citizen for attempting to smuggle 10 pounds of heroin valued at $268,000 and 27 pounds of meth valued at $82,000, 5 pounds of fentanyl worth $56,000 and unreported currency containing nearly $96,000. I typically don’t report on drug seizures, but included posted about this CBP media release as CBP also found seized currency. In general, currency can be released if you can show a legal source and legal use of the funds. Unfortunately, as this currency was seized along with the drugs, it will be hard to convince Customs the seized currency were from a legitimate source and have a legitimate use.

If you or someone you know has seized currency and want to get your hard earned money back, contact experiecned seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Support HR 2261 – Customs Business Fairness Act of 2019

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Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY) have introduced H.R. 2261, the Customs Business Fairness Act of 2019. This act protects customs brokers in the event an importer-client declares bankruptcy. As currently written, the bankruptcy laws allow bankruptcy trustees to recover duty payments made by the importer to CBP through the customs broker during the 90-day “claw back” period.

The Customs Business and Fairness Act will allow customs brokers to be “subrogated” to the priority rights of CBP for duties paid by the customs broker on behalf of an importer that subsequently files for bankruptcy – allowing a customs broker to standing the shoes of CBP as a credit who collected duties from the importer.

Click on this link below to call or write to Congress about HR 2261:
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr2261/comment

Unreported currency seizures up 62% over last year at Detroit field office.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release, CBP officers in the Detroit field office report an 62% increase in the seizure of unreported currency from international travelers.

As you are aware, all amounts of money, checks, currency (even foreign currency) totaling over $10,000 USD must be reported as you enter or leave the United States. Even if you are in the US temporarily on a layover, you must report this currency.

Back to the recent increase. Specifically, from October 1st to March 31st, CBP has seized over $3.8 million compared to $2.3 million during this same time frame in 2018.

If you have had your hard-earned currency seized, contact experienced customs money seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 immediately, you have a certain time to respond so call anytime or email David at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

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

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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 seizes wall charges bearing counterfeit “UL” markings.

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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 attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Givens and Johnston, PLLC at Breakbulk Americas 2018.

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Earlier this week, Givens and Johnston, PLLC attorneys – James Garland Hurst and David Hsu staffed the G&J booth at Breakbulk Americas 2018.

James and David were on hand to answer questions related to wood packaging materials and cost-effective solutions to deal with a “wood packaging material” notice from Customs. As you are aware, Customs vigorously inspects wood packaging material shipments entering the US for presence of invasive pests that damage the US ecosystem.

James and David also answered questions regarding ftz’s, bonded warehouses, import and export, compliance matters, Section 232 and 301 duties and the whole range related trade matters.

See you at Breakbulk Americas 2019! In the meantime, feel free to contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for all your import, export and trade matters.

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Dulles CBP seizes $170k in unreported currency from 7 groups of travelers.

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Busy day at Dulles airport where U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized approximately $170,000 in unreported currency from 7 different travelers.

As you are aware, it is legal to carry large amounts of currency, however, all amounts over $10,000 must be reported. The $10,000 limit is not for the individual, but rather the limit for everyone in the traveling party.

The seizures in early August included:

  1. CBP seizes $21,735 from a woman boarding a flight to Belgium. The family reported $9,700.00. Typically, CBP first asks the traveler(s) to complete FinCen Form 105 to report the amount of currency they have. After the Form 105 is completed, CBP then searches the travelers’ belongings. In this instance, after the travelers signed the form, CBP did a thorough search and found $21,735 total.
  2. On July 30, a man was boarding a flight to Ghana when he CBP seized $30,721 in unreported currency.
  3. A family on the way to Turkey was detained and CBP seized $21,000 in unreported currency. In this seizure, CBP found cash concealed in clothing and cell phone cases.
  4. Another group of travelers traveling to Ghana were stopped and CBP seized $34,585 from them. The couple mistakenly reported $10,000 was carried by each person.
  5. CBP seized $18,390 from another couple going to Turkey.
  6. $20,645 was seized from another group of travelers heading to Qatar.
  7. Last, a passenger on the way to Serbia had $17,178 seized after she reported $8,000.00.

If you have had your cash seized, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.