Counterfeit Sports Championship Rings Seized.

Champ Rings
Image of counterfeit rings, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Chicago seized a shipment from China containing counterfeit championship rings in mid-September. The shipment contained 86 rings celebrating championships from sports teams such as the Chicago Bulls, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals among others.

CBP Officers and the trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise determined the rings were counterfeit because the rings were of poor quality. The MSRP of the rings, if authentic would equal approximately $2.38 million.

This shipment was just one of the over 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in 2019 – in which the total value of seized goods totaled over $1.5 billion.

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

$25,000 in Canadian dollars seized by Customs.

Image of seized Canadian currency; source: CBP.gov

In mid-August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Tennessee searched a package labeled as containing books or brochures, belt buckles and jeans headed to Boston. Upon x-ray of the package, the x-ray image did not resemble brochures or clothing. When CBP officers opened the package, they found $25,000 in Canadian dollars, or about $19,657 in US dollars. The currency was seized because it was not reported.

All currency being taken into or out of the US, including by mail, containing more than $10,000 must be reported to Customs through use of the Fincen 105 currency reporting site or use of a paper copy.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 for immediate assistance. You can also email David at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

“Cartier” jewelry seized by CBP totaling $5.2 million.

Counterfeit Cartier goods; source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Ohio seized two shipments containing 500 pieces of counterfeit Cartier jewelry from China and Hong Kong. While the importer did not pay a combined $5.2 million for the 500 pieces, CBP values the shipments seized based on the value of the goods, if authentic.

The two shipments contained mostly bracelets and rings and were destined to an address in Florida and Mississippi.

On August 16, officers inspected the first shipment containing 450 Cartier Love bracelets and rings. The bracelets and rings were mixed in with other jewelry that did not violate Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The shipment was from China and headed to a residence in Aventura, Florida.

When Customs seizes goods suspected of being counterfeit, samples (either photos or actual goods) will be sent to a CBP Centers for Excellence and Expertise, known as a (CEE, pronounced “see”). The CEE will verify with the trademark holders the authenticity of the goods. In general, the trademark holders will never say the goods are authentic.

If you have had your goods seized by customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at 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.

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.

Does my company need a Social Compliance program?

architecture barge bay beach
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yes and Yes. While import and export compliance are the typical programs in place for importers and exporters – one often neglected compliance program importers must have is the social compliance program.

The social compliance program is necessary to ensure compliance with Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, prohibiting the importation of merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced or indentured child labor – including forced child labor. Importers who import goods produced with forced labor may have their goods subject to exclusion, detention, seizure and may lead to a criminal investigation.

While many importers are confident their manufacturing supplier is not using forced labor, CBP also goes after importers who are downstream from the actual instance of forced labor. For example, even though you do not purchase goods from a company using forced labor – if the raw materials used in the production of the goods you import are made using forced labor – your goods are subject to detention. Even if the raw materials go through several manufacturers or companies before being incorporated into the final product you import – you as the importer of record are liable for any instances of forced labor at any stage of the supply chain.

A social compliance program is therefore a must to minimize the risk of a Customs detention on the basis of use of forced labor. Not only do importers need a social compliance program in place, they also need to adequately educate and train all key personnel on minimizing the importation of goods produced using forced labor.

If you want to minimize your detention risk of goods subject to a pending Withhold Release Order or have any questions about whether your goods may be subject to detention based on the multitude of outstanding WRO’s in place – call us for your free consultation. Our firm prepares and trains companies on forced labor compliance and are ready to help you. Call David Hsu on his cellphone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Small insect equals big Customs problem.

wooden pallets
Photo by Brent Keane on Pexels.com

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists in California intercepted a shipment of antique terracotta roof tiles from France due to an infestation of wood boring pests. Specifically, CBP found the longhorn beetle known scientifically as the Arhopalus sp. (Cerambycidae). The larvae of the longhorn beetle are known as roundheaded borers and bore into wood, causing extensive damage to the tree and to other untreated wood.

In this seizure, Agriculture Specialists were able to locate the beetles due to fresh “frass”, a powdery sawdust that falls to the ground from the boring activity of the larvae and beetles.

As you are aware, if Customs finds invasive species or other pests, CBP will issue an Emergency Action Notice (EAN) and re-export the goods for fumigation or heat treatment. Afterwards, CBP will issue a civil penalty to the importer.

If you have received an Emergency Action Notice, there may be some alternatives instead of re-exportation. Contact David Hsu by phone/text or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, 832-896-6288 to discuss your options.

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.

$101k in unreported money seized by Customs.

Seized funds from Ethiopian traveler, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at the Dulles International Airport seized over $101,000 in undeclared, unreported currency. This currency seizure is unique from my usual posts because the traveler had their currency seized when entering the US. The traveler arrived from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and upon entry declared he was in possession of $2,000 in currency. The $2,000 total later because $2,300 prior to CBP officers searching his baggage for a second time. Ultimately, a search by CBP revealed over $100,000 inside a plastic bag. While Customs seized over $101,000 from the traveler – they returned $1,995 for “humanitarian purposes”.

To make matters worse for the traveler, CBP officers determined the traveler from Ethiopia was not eligible to enter the US because he was flagged as a prior Visa Waiver Program violator. In general, a visa waiver program violator is someone who previously entered the US without a visa, and then over stayed the allotted time. The US and certain countries allow citizens of other countries to enter into the US visa free for a period of 60 or 90 days. This privilege is only extended to countries that also allow US citizens to enter their country without a visa. Unfortunately for this traveler, he previously overstayed his visa, and left the US after the visa free period expired – therefore being flagged as a visa waiver program violator.

As the traveler was not eligible to enter into the US, his currency was seized and he was sent on the next flight back to Ethiopia.

Can customs seize money from travelers entering the US?
This instant seizure is a perfect example of a question we frequently receive from our clients – can CBP seize funds from non-US citizens entering the US? And the short answer is yes, any individual crossing the border is required to declare any funds over $10,000 in their possession.

Are you overseas and have had your funds seized by US Customs?
If so, call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for immediate assistance. We represent travelers world wide and can help you get your money back.

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

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only. Do not rely on any part of this blog as legal advice. Instead, seek out the advice of a licensed attorney. Also, this information may be out-of-date.