According to a South China Morning Post article, Hong Kong Customs officials investigated and ultimately raided a cell phone repair shop after receiving complaints from a trademark holder (not specified whether Apple or Samsung complained).
The article claimed the repair shop refurbished devices for clients in the US, UK and Australia that sent second-hand phones for repair at 1/3 the typical rate of an authorized repair facility. The repairs typically included replacing the screen or housing.
HK Customs officials claimed the repair shop used counterfeit parts to repair damaged iPhones, and seized over $120,000 worth of fake goods.
Based on the article, I’m pretty sure Apple complained about the IP violations since most Samsung phones do not have the housing replaced when being refurbished. While not listed in the article, the IP violations probably were for the wordmark “iPhone” or the trademark Apple logo found on the back housing. The iPhone replacement glass do not have any IP marks, so the seized goods were most likely the housings.
According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seize sound bars on a rail container at the International Falls Port of Entry. Upon inspection of the rail container, CBP officers found the sound bars and seized approximately 600 of them due to violation of intellectual property rights. The total MSRP is $530,970 if the sound bars were genuine.
If you or someone you know has a had a seizure by Customs for suspected counterfeit merchandise, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by text/phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s blog post is in response to our firm seeing an increase in the number of importers having their Samsung or Apple phones seized by Customs.
Typically, our client is a company in the United States that purchases used Apple iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones from the US. The used phones vary anywhere from A to C stock and may have broken screens, defective home buttons, scratched, dented or damaged housing or cracked camera lens. Some phones are store demos with burn-in on the screens, customer returns or old, new stock. The phones are packaged and then sent to China for repair and refurbishing. The fixed phones are then sent back to the US for sale through wholesalers and distributors.
However, as the phones are shipped back to the company in the US, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detains shipments to review whether or not the cell phones violate any intellectual property rights (IPR).
CBP will first detain the phones and has 30-days to speak to the trademark or IPR holder to determine the authenticity of the trademark or IPR. The trademark could be the “Samsung” logo, the “Apple” logo or even the “iPhone” trademark printed in text on the back of the phones. More often than not, the shipped phones change from being “detained” to being “seized”.
The majority of the seizures are due to trademarks found on the rear housing of the phones. As most importers cannot provide authorization by the trademark or IPR holder the right to use the mark, CBP considers the importer phones to be counterfeit and are then subsequently seized.
If you have had your refurbished iPhone or Samsung phone seized by Customs, call experienced cell phone seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at email@example.com. There are certain time limitations after a seizure has occurred so contact David Hsu today.