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.

CBP seizes 4.6 million disposable gloves due to forced labor finding.


crop unrecognizable person in rubber gloves raising arms
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers in Missouri seized over 4.68 million latex gloves from a subsidiary of Malaysia based Top Glove Corporation Bhd. The seizure valued at $690,000 was due to information provided to CBP the gloves were manufactured using forced labor – a form of modern slavery.

Specifically, CBP issued a forced labor finding – in which they suspect Top Glove’s production process to include debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working conditions, abusive living conditions and the retention of identity documents.

Unfortunately for Top Glove, CBP will continue seizing their goods until Top Glove can prove future glove shipments were not produced using forced labor. In general, forced labor also includes indentured labor, use of convict labor, and child labor.

CBP issued a forced labor finding on March 29 based on evidence of multiple forced labor indicators in Top Glove’s production process, including debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions, and retention of identity documents.

If your company is suspected of using forced labor. contact David Hsu anytime by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com. Forced labor compliance is the new, hot enforcement area for Customs and Border Protection.

If you are an importer, and are concerned about forced labor accusations, contact us also to create your forced labor compliance program.

Your office is in Texas, can you still represent me? I live in [your state here].

antique antique globe antique shop antique store
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The firm and I are located in Houston, and I only have a Texas law license (SBOT #: 24062636). About once or twice a week I am frequently asked the above question – whether or not I can represent someone a client in another state?

The answer is yes! While we are based in Houston, Texas, we can represent clients in any state, jurisdiction or country because trade and customs law issues are matters of federal law.

It is very common for attorneys to represent clients in other states because there are many other areas of federal law besides trade and customs law – such as bankruptcy, IRS and tax issues and immigration law.

No matter where you are, we can represent you – call or text 24/7: 832.896.6288 or send me an email to my catch-all email address: attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$450,000 worth of vaping pens from HK seized by US Customs.

Image of seized dragster pens, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at Chicago O’Hare seized 50,000 vaping pens from Hong Kong.

The “dragster Mountain Vape Pens” were seized because they violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) regarding the importation of tobacco products – specifically for being misbranded and for being imported by an unauthorized agent. Typically this means an importer is not authorized to import goods (that may be counterfeit).

According to the Customs media release, Customs believes the shipment was intentionally and improperly mislabeled as “lithium ion batteries” to avoid seizure.

While not reported in the Customs media release – shipments that are mislabeled are typically seized under statute 19USC1499(a)(3)(A), copied below:

(3)Unspecified articles If any package contains any article not specified in the invoice or entry and, in the opinion of the Customs Service, the article was omitted from the invoice or entry—(A) with fraudulent intent on the part of the seller, shipper, owner, agent, importer of record, or entry filer, the contents of the entire package in which such article is found shall be subject to seizure; or

19USC1499(a)(3)(A) is a catch all statute Customs frequently uses to seize any goods that are not included in paperwork. Omissions or mis-representations on the paperwork (regardless of goods being imported) is the easiest way for Customs to seize shipments. If you are in the import business – be sure the exporter is correctly declaring the shipment and are following your import compliance manual and procedures.

If you import and don’t have a compliance manual or procedures – contact me, you need one, 832-896-6288.

Going back to the vape pens – Customs will likely not release these goods as the FDA has increasingly cracked down on the importation of these vape pens and other nicotine delivery systems. The alleged counterfeit nature of the pens and the mislabeling of the shipment will likely mean these vape pens will not be released.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact seizure attorney David Hsu immediately by phone or 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.

New Withhold Release Order for Seafood Harvested with Forced Labor

person throwing fish net while standing on boat
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

Effective today, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will detain at all US ports – tuna and other seafood harvested from the “Lien Yi Hsing Number 12”. The vessel is Taiwanese flagged and owned distant water fishing vessel due to reasonable information that indicates the use of forced labor – including but not limited to deception, withholding of wages and debt bondage.

As you are aware, 19 USC 1307 bans the importation of goods that have been mined, manufactured, produced in whole or in part by convict labor, forced labor and or indentured labor. If importers have goods from the Lien Yi Hsing vessel, CBP does allow the detained shipments to be exported or in the alternative, allow importers prove the merchandise was not produced using forced labor.

If you have any questions about this or any other withhold release order, or want to ensure you are in compliance with 19 USC 1307, or if you believe a company benefits from the use of forced labor, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

$25 million in fake watches seized by Customs.

Image of seized Rolex watches, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized 1,280 “Rolex” watches, if authentic, would be worth an estimated $25.2 million dollars. The shipment from Hong Kong arrived in four shipments to Louisville, Kentucky ultimately destined for Salt Lake City, Utah. If you are wondering why the seizures usually occur in Louisville, it is because that is where DHL/FedEx/UPS have their hub for shipments from China.

The Customs media release claims the watches were mis-manifested (wrongly described on the entry paperwork, packing list, or invoice). As an aside – Customs at their discretion seize goods that are mis-identfied.

Customs seized the watches and sent either sample photos or a sample seized watch to Rolex to confirm authenticity. As Rolex (and any property rights holder) denied the authenticity, the watches were seized and will be forfeited (destroyed by Customs).

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 at anytime or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com.

$838,481 in unreported currency seized by Customs.

Image of $838k in seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release. CBP officers at the Roma, Texas Port of Entry seized more than $838,000 in unreported currency hidden in a vehicle heading out of the US.

As you are aware, all currency and monetary instruments $10,000 or more need to be reported. In this case, CBP officers seized stacks of cash totaling $838,481 in unreported currency concealed within a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado.

After seizing the currency – CBP referred the case to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI). In general, if your case is referred to HSI – then there is likely a criminal case.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, contact our office immediately – there are time limits regarding the seizures – call or text David Hsu directly at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Counterfeit championship sports rings seized.

Seized counterfeit rings.

In early August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer seized a package containing 62 counterfeit championship rings in Chicago. The shipment from Shanghai China was destined for a store in Aurora.

CBP officers detained and examined the rings before sending them to an import specialist to verify authenticity. Customs noted the poor quality, poor packaging, low declared value and typical security features found on licensed merchandise.

Customs seized the goods, that if authentic, would have been valued at more than $93,600.

Author’s note – while this shipment was destined to go to a store address, my guess is the purchaser of these items was likely a collector searching for a novelty item to collect – instead of buying the rings to re sell to unsuspecting buyers. Championship rings are well documented and easy to verify authenticity. Also, a buyer of these rings would want to know the history of the prior owner and authenticity can be verified by any jeweler. Highly doubt a real collector would be fooled by these cheap knockoffs.

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

Invasive snails seized from arriving cargo.

Image of invasive snails, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Houston Seaport discovered snails known as: Xeropicta krynickii and Monacha cf. syriaca. The snails are an invasive species of pests that can damage crops and are likely to harm US food and natural resources.

The vessel arrived from Israel and CBP found the snails on the interior and exterior of military vehicles being transported within the vessel. Amazing work by Customs agriculture specialists as these snails are only millimeters long and can hide in small crevices for long periods of time.

If your vessel is being detained by CBP for containing invasive pests, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com immediately to start discussing your options.