$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.

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 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.

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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.

ISPM 15 violation? Call now.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is increasing enforcement against wood packaging material (WPM) violations.

In short, WPM violations occur when CBP finds wood-boring pets in packaging material. If wood-boring pests or other invasive species are found, CBP will issue an “Emergency Action Notice” for violations of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM-15).

The EAN will request re-export, however, we can help – call experienced WPM violation and wood-boring pest attorney, David Hsu immediately. We can help you, call anytime, 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

WPM violation cases are time sensitive, call now!

US Customs seizes Khat at Dulles Int’l airport.

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Screenshot of the seized khat. Credit: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection press release, CBP officers at Dulles International Airport seized 78 pounds of khat from Nigeria.

Khat is a green leafy plant grown in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and chewed to create a stimulant effect. Since 1980, the WHO has considered khat as a drug of abuse. The active ingredient in khat is a psychoactive component called “cathinone”. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifieds cathinone as a schedule 1 drug.

CBP officers have seized nearly a ton of Khat since the start of the year.

If you or anyone you know has had items detained or seized by  customs, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or by phone at 832-896-6288. There are certain deadlines that Customs requires you to follow – call today!

CBP finds invasive Egyptian Locusts from Italy.

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Screenshot of the Egyptian tree locust. Source: cbp.gov

In mid-November, agriculture specialists from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discovered the Egyptian tree locust in the port of Baltimore. The locusts were found in a shipment of Italian wine. As a result of the finding, CBP had the shipment re-exported back to Italy.

The Anacridium aegyptium, or commonly known as the Egyptian tree locust is a leaf feeder and pest to grapevines, citrus, fruit and other vegetable. While the Egyptian tree locust is common in Europe, it is considered an invasive species in the US.

In addition to invasive pests, CBP’s agriculture specialists also work hard to stop noxious weeds and prevent foreign plant and animal diseases from entering the US.

If CBP finds the presence of invasive species in your shipment – you will receive an EAN (Emergency Action Notification) typically requiring you to re-export the shipment and contents. If you have received an EAN, contact experienced trade and customs attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6822 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for immediate assistance.

CBP seizes counterfeit dolls and toys with excessive lead levels.

aerial view photography of container van lot

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

According to a Customs media release on September 14, 2018, CBP officers at the International Falls Port of Entry detained several rail containers transporting toys with counterfeit items and toys with prohibited lead levels.

Customs seized the first container of 2,459 die cast “transporter carry case” filled with toy cars for excessive lead levels.

The second container was seized for containing 5,460 fashion dolls that violated copyright protected markings. The media release claimed the suggested retail price was $139,145.

As Christmas and the holidays approaches, I believe this is only the beginning of more seizures. If you have had your shipments seized for intellectual property right violations, contact trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.