CBP seizes mislabeled shipment filled with counterfeit goods.

Image of counterfeit sandals, source: CBP.gov

In late June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers Kentucky detained and seized a shipment containing over 300 counterfeit items shipped from Hong Kong.

While the outside packing list indicated the contents were belts, CBP officers instead found watches from “Rolex”, “Cartier” and “Panerai Luminor”. The shipment also contained sandals from Tory Burch, earrings from Chanel, Gucci sandals bracelets, LV scarves, Gucci scarves, Chanel Scares and many more luxury branded goods. CBP indicated the shipment contained over $371,365 worth of goods – if authentic.

Author’s note: in general, CBP will detain goods suspected of being counterfeit and then send images or samples of the goods to the trademark holder. If the trademark holder tells Customs the goods are not authentic – CBP will seize them and issue the importer of record a seizure notice.

Also – in addition to seizing the goods for being counterfeit, CBP can also seize any goods that are included in the shipment, but not properly declared or mis-declared on the packing list and entry paperwork.

In general – it is easy to run into Customs problems – before you import, or before you export, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for a free consultation.

Counterfeit professional sports championship rings seized.

Seized counterfeit rings, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in New York’s JFK International Airport seized two shipments containing 144 rings with a combined MSRP of over $216,000 (if authentic). According to the CBP media release, no arrests were made.

Author’s note – sometimes CBP will refer a seizure for criminal prosecution and sometimes they will not. Many seizures will result in a civil penalty issued against the “Importer of Record” (IOR). The IOR may receive a letter from CBP months, or even years after an import has been seized. The civil penalty is something that must be addressed and cannot be ignored.

If you have received a civil penalty in the mail, contact trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$5.5 million in fake Gucci, Instagram and Facebook clothing seized.

Seized goods, source: CBP.gov

Earlier this past July, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at one of our great nation’s biggest seaport of Los Angeles / Long Beach seized a large shipment of women’s sleepwear containing counterfeit brands such as Gucci, Facebook and Instagram.

2020 is a weird year indeed when we consider Facebook and Instagram to be a luxury brand. If authentic the 16,340 items of seized counterfeit pajamas (called “sleeping dresses”) would be worth an approximate retail value of $5.5 million.

CBP reported the counterfeit goods were concealed inside generic non-branded pajamas which CBP believes was intentionally packaged to avoid detection.

Author’s note – yes, in general if you pack counterfeit goods underneath unbranded goods, or try to conceal a counterfeit logo (such as using black tape to cover a logo), CBP will assume you are aware of the nature of the goods and are attempting to smuggle them into the US in violation of 19 USC 1595a (c)(1)(A), in other words merchandise that “is stolen, smuggled, or clandestinely imported or introduced“.

In addition to violating intellectual property rights of the trademark holder, CBP also claims counterfeit goods may not be in compliance with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requirements for flammability standards of sleepwear.

If you have had your shipment seized for alleged counterfeit violations or seized for alleged violations of CPSC consumer guidelines – contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

450 fake iPhone cases valued at over $17,000 seized by Chicago Customs.

Seized cases. Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at the Chicago Express Consignment facility seized 450 Apple iPhone cases from Hong Kong. Officers opened the shipment labeled “mobile phone shell” and found the cases for the 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max and the 8 Plus phone models.

CBP officers determined the cases were counterfeit based off bad quality design, materials, packaging and printing. Based off the image attached to this media release, I believe the cases are counterfeits of the Apple OEM cases sold through the website.

If authentic, the value of the cases would retail for about $17,550. If you have had your DHL/UPS/FedEx shipment seized by CBP for alleged counterfeit violations – contact seizure attorney David Hsu 24/7 by phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes Chinese shipment of human hair products due to suspected use of child and forced labor.

Image of the seized hair, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of New York/Newark detained a shipment of products and accessories made with human hair today from Xinjiang, China.

The shipment was seized because of a pending “Withhold Release Order” (WRO) on hair products made by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd. The WRO came into effect on June 17th, in which Customs instructs each port to detain all products from certain manufacturers (in this case Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd.). The 13 tons of seized products were worth over $800k dollars. WRO’s are typically issued if Customs reasonably believes goods are manufactured using prison labor, forced labor, made under use of excessive overtime, withholding of wages and or the restriction of movement. CBP seizes Chinese shipment of human hair products due to suspected use of child and forced labor.t. Prior to a WRO being issued, CBP will give the importer the burden of proof to show the merchandise is not manufactured using forced labor or any of the other issues previously written above.

If you are subject to a WRO, or if you are under audit for a potential WRO action – contact trade and customs attorney David Hsu immediately by mobile phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Kratom contaminated with salmonella seized by CBP.

Image of kratom powder, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Detroit seized more than a half ton of “salmonella-laced Kratom” at the Fort Street Cargo Facility.

Author’s comment: the original headline was “CBP Seizes Half Ton of Salmonella-Laced Kratom“. Not sure why they used the word “laced” in the headline as lacing something is typically used to mean adding an ingredient to bulk up a drug. I am unsure how a kratom exporter can “lace” kratom with salmonella on purpose or if there would be a benefit to doing so. Additionally, the use of the word “lace” to describe kratom may also be an effort to associate kratom as dangerous as other illegal drugs that are frequently laced such as crack, heroin, PCP, etc.

The media release reports 1,200 pounds of contaminated powder (valued according to CBP at $405,000) was selected for further inspection due to an unusual description and classification discrepancies.

CBP said the kratom “which originated from China, were manifested as botanical soils from Canada, though Officers and specialists believed it to be consistent in appearance to bulk green tea”.

Author’s comment: this is the first time I have heard of kratom from China, maybe it was transhipped from Indonesia? CBP did not indicate the “classification discrepancy” or point out what HTSUS code was used to enter the kratom.

CBP took a sample of the power and sent it to the Food and Drug Administration for lab tests – which confirmed the shipment was kratom but also saw it was contaminated with salmonella. As a result, CBP seized the shipment “due to significant risk to public health and safety”.

Author’s comment: CBP does not specify the import alert on kratom as the basis for seizure. I have not seen the seizure notice (it will only be sent to the importer of record), but it was likely seized for not being described as kratom on the shipping documents.

In the last paragraph of the CBP media release, they write:

Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, and its leaves are often ingested in the form of tea. Depending on dosage, Kratom can produce both stimulant and sedative effects. Kratom is not a scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, though the Drug Enforcement Administration currently lists it as a Drug or Chemical of Concern.

It is interesting they do not mention the 2016 import alert regarding kratom. If you have had your shipment of kratom (mitragyna speciosa) seized by CBP, contact David Hsu, 24/7 by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Counterfeit footwear valued over $270k seized in Kentucky.

Counterfeit Louis Vuitton, source: CBP.gov

In early June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized a shipment of counterfeit luxury footwear from Turkey headed for a home in Georgia.

The seizure consisted of two shipments of counterfeit Louis Vuitton sandals carrying an MSRP of $276,540 if authentic.

CBP claims the purchase of counterfeit goods supports criminal activity while robbing businesses of revenue. The early June seizure of sandals is only a small portion of the reported $4.3 million worth of counterfeit products seized daily last year, as reported by CBP.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, you do have to act fact – certain time lines are in effect from the day Customs issues the seizure notice.

Contact trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com anytime for immediate help.

Over 10,000 assault weapons parts seized by Customs.

Image of seized parts, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized a shipment from China containing over 10,000 assault weapons parts being smuggled into the country. The shipment from Shenzhen, China was to be sent to a home in Florida and valued at approximately $129,600.

According to the media release, the packing list listed the items as “100 Steel Pin Samples”. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulates and restricts firearms and ammunition and importers of any firearms, ammunition or parts must be a licensed importer, dealer or manufacturer.

If you would like to be a licensed importer with ATF, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Houston CBP seizes $600K+ in counterfeit solar panels.

Solar Panel with trademark infringment
Image of seized counterfeit solar panels, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Houston seaport seized over 2,000 solar panels from Turkey violating intellectual property rights. If authentic, the value of the solar panels would total over $658,125.

This is the fourth importation of counterfeit solar panels – with counterfeit panels entering Houston as early as February. CBP later verified with the trademark owner that confirmed the panels were counterfeit.

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

Counterfeit 3M masks seized by CBP.

Fake Masks
Image of seized masks, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at Chicago O’Hare International Mail Branch detained (and subsequently seized) a package from China manifested as containing contents as industrial masks on May 30.

The shipment contained in 24 boxes with each box containing 10 3M brand, 8822 Plus Masks. CBP suspected the masks as counterfeit due to low value, poor quality and poor packaging.

After CBP detained the masks, samples were sent to 3M where the shipment was selected for exam due to x-ray inconsistencies. Inside the parcel were 24 boxes each containing 10 counterfeit 3M 8822 Plus masks. Import Specialists noted the poor packaging, low value, and poor quality. A subsequent 3M authenticator (didn’t know they had those) confirmed the masks were counterfeit – if real, the masks would have an MSRP of $813.

Given the increase in COVID-19 cases, we will likely see more importations of counterfeit PPE, medicine and thermometers.

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

To combat these criminal activities, CBP is targeting imports and exports that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods. The products in targeted shipments often include false or misleading claims, lack required warnings or lack proper approvals.