$57 million in designer watches seized by Customs.

Counterfeit watches, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized a shipment last Saturday of 32 separate shipments containing counterfeit designer watches valued at $57.84 million dollars, if authentic. Some of the counterfeits were branded Rolex and Richard Mille.

The 32 separate shipments contained 2,168 watches that were determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s experts at the various CEE departments. The watches were from Hong Kong where approximately 25% of the counterfeit goods seized originate.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288; or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com for assistance.

More Counterfeit COVID Vaccination Cards Seized.

Image of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination card; source: CBP.gov

Back in late August I reported on the seizure of hundreds of COVID vaccination cards. And last week, CBP officers in Chicago reported seizing more COVID-19 vaccination cards. CBP was alerted to the counterfeit nature of the cards due to the poor quality of the card stock and misspelled words (not sure why the counterfeiters double check the spelling)?

The shipment was headed to an address in Ohio and is just one of the high volume of counterfeit vaccination cards being shipped into the US.

The basis for the shipment seizures are due to the unauthorized use of the Health and Human Services of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seal.

If you have had your shipment detained or seized by Customs, call David Hsu by phone or text: 832-896-6288 to discuss your options at no cost. Emails can also be sent to: attorney.dave@yahoo.com

Counterfeit COVID vaccination cards seized.

Fake COVID vaccination cards, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers in Memphis, Tennessee seized a shipment from China containing counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards. The shipment from Shenzhen was labeled as “PAPER CARD, PAPER” and CBP officers knew the inside contents as this was the 15th shipment for the night.

CBP knew the cards were counterfeit because of typos, incomplete words and the Spanish translation was incorrect. You are probably thinking why the counterfeiters didn’t simply photocopy an actual vaccination card posted on social media. I don’t know why either.

CBP has so far seized 3,017 vaccination cards in over 121 shipments. Fake vaccination cards are illegal under 18 USC Section 1017.

If you have had your shipment seized (except counterfeit vaccination cards) by Customs, contact David Hsu by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or phone/text 832-896-6288.

Counterfeit auto parts seized by CBP.

Seized shipment of counterfeit auto parts; source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers in Philadelphia seized counterfeit Chinese vehicle parts in June consisting of door locks, hinges, powered mirrors, steering wheel switches, headlights and taillights, grills, rear bumpers, and paint kits. As the goods from China were branded with “Mercedes-Benz”, CBP officers suspected the goods may have been counterfeit. CBP Officers confirmed with the trademark holder and seized the goods for being counterfeit. The estimated retail value of the goods, if authentic totals $295,052.

If your shipment of goods from China has been detained or seized for suspicion of being counterfeit, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com 24/7 for immediate assistance.

Wood Packaging Material Dangers – not just pests.

wooden pallets
Photo by Brent Keane on Pexels.com

I frequently post about pests, larvae or other wood-boring and non wood-boring insections in wood packaging materials (wpm) that cause most of the problems. However, the other unknown danger not frequently reported is another risk of using WPM – the missing IPPC 15 stamp.

IPPC is short for the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) 15 stamps. IPPC stamps are used to certify the wood packaging material has been treated with approved measures prior to shipment. Untreated wpm can result in insects and larvae to burrow into the wood materials prior to shipment and escape the ship or port once the shipment arrives.

In general, an IPPC 15 stamp needs to be visible and meet the approved design standard. The most recent standard is from May 2017 and can be found at the IPPC website here (scroll down to number 15). If you are importer, you must ensure the foreign shipper is in compliance with the IPPC standard if WPM is used. This is often forgotten among first time importers.

In May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in New Orleans found two shipments from Brazil that were not in compliance with the IPPC standard as the stamps were missing. Due to the non-compliance, the shipments were re-exported back to their respective countries, Brazil and Suriname.

While the shipment in May was re-exported, CBP may sometimes allow for manipulation and other remedial measures depending on the situation. Call David Hsu to discuss your options – 832-896-6288. You can also text at the same number.

Failure to meet IPPC 15 standards for WPM is a serious problem and can lead to delays, fines, penalties and a lot of unhappy people who are relying on the timely delivery of your shipment. If you have a WPM issue, or want to be sure you are in compliance with the IPPC 15 standard, call David Hsu by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com anytime. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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Counterfeit AirPods seized by Customs.

Seized TWS headphones, source: CBP.gov

In mid-June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville seized 8 shipments manifested as “bluetooth audio devices” and found 817 pairs of earbuds that bear a strong resemblance to Apple Incorporated’s AirPods three-dimensional configuration trademark. As you are aware, CBP is required by law to enforce trademarks and patents if the trademark/patent/copyright holder submits a request to Customs.

In all cases involving intellectual property rights seizures – CBP import specialists will submit photos or samples of goods suspected of violating intellectual property rights to the rights holder. In 100% of the cases, Apple will always reject any sample or photo as counterfeit. Even if the imported phone is a phone previously sold through T-Mobile, traded-in by the first user, sold to a liquidator, exported to China for repair, then shipped back to the US – Apple will notify Customs the phone is counterfeit.

While the AirPods in this shipment did not contain the Apple logo, CBP is enforcing the 3-d configuration trademark. While the photo provided by Customs is hard to see, I believe the AirPods seized are the TWS-iXX headphones. The earlier models of the TWS I believe started with the TWS-i7, and in 2021 I see TWS-i12 headphones being sold. I cannot see the model number clearly, but can determine the photos are boxed TWS series headphones.

Customs seized the headphones and determined the value of the 817 headphones was approximately $331,360 if genuine, or about $405 per pair. I do not know how CBP valued these headphones as authentic Apple AirPods start at $199 and go as high as $249 for the AirPod Pro models.

If you have had your TWS shipment seized by Customs, or have any other IPR violations, contact Customs attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com. We are based in Houston but represent clients nationwide and abroad. Call for your free consultation.

$4.2 million in fake jewelry seized.

Image of seized good, source: CBP.gov

According to a CBP media release – officers in Cincinnati seized a shipment in late March containing jewelry with name brands such as Tiffany, Chanel, Rolex, Pandora, Cartier, Dior, Gucci and more. When suspected counterfeit goods are seized, samples and photos of the seized goods are sent to a CBP Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) where the shipment is further evaluated. At the CEE, an import specialist will determine whether the jewelry is real – one method is through verification with the property right holder.

While the declared value on the shipment was $119, the actual value of the seized goods, if authentic would total more than $4.2 million dollars.

I am frequently asked why customs uses the “if authentic” value versus the declared value – since the declared value is likely more accurate to what the seized goods actually cost.

The main reason is Customs will use the “if authentic” value when issuing fines to the importer of record. And perhaps the most obvious reason to only use the “if authentic” value is for impact. A $4.2 million seizure is much more impactful than a $119 seizure of counterfeit goods.

If you or anyone you know has had your goods seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Unapproved Juul pods seized by CBP.

Image of seized Juul pods, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protections media release, officers in Indianapolis over 10,000 Juul Pods shipped from Ontario, Canada to New York and New Jersey. The shipments were seized because they were misbranded consumer goods imported by an unauthorized agent.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) governs the importation of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. However, the basis of this seizure was likely under 19 USC 1499(a)(3)(a) unspecified articles and 19 USC 1595(c)(1) merchandise introduced contrary to law because the packages were labeled as an “electrical apparatus”.

If you have had your goods seized and you received a seizure notice alleging violations of 19 USC 1499 and 19 USC 1595, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Currency hidden in sanitary napkins seized by Customs.

Seized currency contained inside sanitary pad packaging – source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport seized over $60,000 from a female traveler heading to Amsterdam in early February. According to the release, the traveler was stopped by CBP officers who conducted an outbound examination. During examination, the traveler indicated she only had $1,000, but during a subsequent inspection CBP officers found bundles of cash inside envelopes, further hidden inside packaging used for containing sanitary napkins (see photo above from the CBP media release).

CBP officers seized the currency for violating currency reporting requirements – which require all travelers leaving and entering the US to declare currency over $10,000.

If you are traveling – be sure to report any amounts over $10,000 – which includes foreign currency, foreign coins, traveler’s checks, money orders, negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form – if you aren’t sure – give me a call – 832-896-6288.

The media release did not say whether a portion of the $60,000 was returned to the traveler for humanitarian reasons – so my guess is Customs kept the entire sum.

If you have had your hard-earned cash seized by Customs, contact David Hsu immediately – your time may be running out. Call/text 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Counterfeit AirPods seized in Houston – over $1.6 million worth.

Seized AirPods, source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP working in Houston in late January seized counterfeit electronics – including Apple’s “AirPods” worth more than $1.6 million dollars of MSRP value. According to the media release – the importer of record abandoned the merchandise, meaning CBP will destroy the goods.

Do you have to abandon your goods if they have been seized for intellectual property rights violations?
No, you do not – the other alternative is to petition for the release of the goods if you know they are authentic. While a petition does not guarantee a return of your goods, it gives you the opportunity to present your information and argue why the goods are authentic to CBP.

The remainder of the media release reiterated CBP’s arguments against counterfeit goods – (1) may be produced from forced labor, (2) economic harm to the trademark holder, (3) unsafe products that may cause injuries to the consumer.

If you or anyone you know has had your shipment seized for alleged intellectual property or trademark violations – contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com