Import drug paraphernalia only if you want to get it seized.

Image of dabbers, source: CBP.gov

I get monthly calls from importers who had their shipment seized as drug paraphernalia. In general, anything that is used to produce, conceal and consume illicit drugs is considered drug paraphernalia.

In late December, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Chicago seized shipments of packages that contained dabbers and quartz banger nails. These are considered paraphernalia as they can be used to vaporize cannabis on a bong.

Importers of drug paraphernalia could be subject to fines and imprisonment. If you have had your drug paraphernalia shipment seized, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Who’s at fault – the importer or the manufacturer who used “Samsung” batteries in the toys?

batteries lot
Photo by mohamed Abdelgaffar on Pexels.com

I receive at least one call a week from importers who have had their goods seized by Customs for trademark violations, and one very common seizure is for “Samsung” batteries (or any other brand name) contained within toys such as hoverboards or RC vehicles.

As you are aware, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the hall monitor of the multiple government agencies and CBP is tasked with the enforcement of all rules and regulations established by the various agencies – for example, CBP enforces trademarks, enforces FDA import alerts, enforces US Fish and Wildlife restrictions on shark fins and all of the tens of thousands of rules from every agency.

In regards to trademarks, CBP must enforce trademarks if the intellectual property holder registered the trademark with Customs. Unfortunately for importers, Samsung has registered many trademarks and anything found to contain the “Samsung” trademark is easy picking for Customs to detain.

Typically, CBP has the ability to detain goods for 5 days – and longer if the detention is because the goods are suspected of violating intellectual property rights.

Once CBP detains a shipment – they notify the importer of record (IOR) or customs broker the shipment has been detained and will be released pending proof the IOR has authorization from the trademark holder to import the trademarked goods.

Unfortunately, 10 out of 10 times the trademark holder will respond to Customs the IOR does not have authority to import the trademarked good. Once that happens, CBP will officially seize the goods and issue a Notice of Seizure to the IOR by certified mail, return receipt requested.

The importer of record then has 30 days to respond to the seizure. According to the Election of Proceedings form on the last page of the seizure notice, there are 4 options – (1) file a petition, (2) forfeit the goods, (3) refer to court action or offer in compromise.

Going back to the original question – who is at fault for the seizure, the manufacturer that used “Samsung” batteries or the importer of record? And as you can guess from the above – CBP will ultimately find the Importer of Record responsible for trademark violations. While this answer seems unfair, it makes sense as CBP has no authority outside of the United States and no mechanism to go after the manufacturer. The only party CBP can find liable is the importer of record.

If you have had your good seized for any reason – contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

550 pounds of counterfeit Apple and Samsung products seized.

Seized Apple products, source: CBP.gov

According to a mid-December U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Cincinnati seized multiple boxes of counterfeit goods totaling 550 pounds. The seized shipment from Hong Kong arrived in multiple shipments and included electronic accessories such as cables, earbuds, chargers with counterfeit logos from brands such as Apple and Samsung. CBP estimated the MSRP (if authentic) of the goods was $49,666.00 – a very specific amount typically used when there is a quantity of counterfeit goods seized.

This is the first time in recent memory CBP has described a shipment of counterfeit goods by weight. My guess is the number of earbuds, cables, chargers and adapters (lighting to headphone jack?) were packaged in small boxes or clamshell packaging. Separating each earbud case, each box of cable and each charger would likely have taken too much time to separate and count.

The media release includes the typical CBP paragraph warning counterfeit goods and the sale of contribute to criminal activity, forced labor, human trafficking and cause a risk to consumers due to the products not meeting quality standards.

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 to discuss your options.

No laughing matter – $1.3 million in counterfeit LOL toys seized.

Seized “LOL Surprise!” toys, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of New York/Newark recently seized a shipment of counterfeit LOL Surprise toys along with counterfeit UNO card games. The large seized shipment contained over 141,000 card games and over 11,000 counterfeit LOL surprise balls and capsule toys. If authentic, the total MSRP of the seized goods would have totaled approximately $1,300,000.

Toys suspected of being counterfeit are reviewed by CBP’s Consumer Prodcuts and Mass Merchandising Center for Excellence and Expertise (CEE). The CEE in turn will work with the trademark holders to verify the authenticity of the goods.

Interestingly, this Customs media release indicates the seizure was also being investigated by the Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents. HSI involvement typically means suspicion of criminal activity or something more than the usual counterfeit goods.

If you or someone you know has had your shipment seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com to discuss your options.

Drug paraphernalia seized by CBP in Chicago.

“Seahorse” vape kits seized by CBP, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Chicago seized drug paraphernalia goods on multiple days earlier in December. In one shipment, CBP seized wax vaping kits and glass pipes in another shipment.

In general – if you import any sort of glass pipe, or glass pipes with plastic roses in them, or other vaping kits – they will likely be seized by CBP because it is illegal to import and export paraphernalia (21 U.S.C. 863(a)).

CBP broadly defines drug paraphernalia as:

“any equipment, product, or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, concealing, producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance, possession of which is unlawful under this subchapter.” (21 U.S.C. 863(d))

CBP seized both the wax vaping kits and glass pipes because they can be used to smoke marijuana.

If you have had your good seized because they are considered drug paraphernalia, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Counterfeit sports memorabilia seized by Customs.

Image of seized jerseys, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers in Cincinnati seized 200 counterfeit sports jerseys bearing the autograph of various athletes – including Jason Witten, Dwayne Haskins, Rod Carew and Minkah Fitzpatrick. If authentic, the value of the jerseys would have been worth over $42,000. This shipment was sent from the Philippines to Nashville, Tennessee.

“Counterfeiters only care about making a profit,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “They don’t care about the effect their fake product has on you, your family, or your job. Our officers are well-trained to find seizures like these, to continue our mission of protecting the American public and the American economy”

In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments of counterfeit goods worth nearly $1.3 billion had the goods been genuine. Most of these seizures were of apparel and accessories, but fake medical supplies played a significant role as well. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, CBP has seized more than 13.5 million counterfeit face masks, and more than 177,000 unapproved COVID-19 test kits.

CBP encourages consumers to be aware of counterfeit and pirated goods when shopping this holiday season, particularly when purchasing online. CBP has also established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers associated with purchasing counterfeit and pirated goods online or in stores. More information about that initiative is available at http://www.cbp.gov/fakegoodsrealdangers.

$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.

CBP finds Asian Gypsy Moths (AGM) in Portland.

AGM egg mass, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in Portland, Oregon found three Asian gypsy moth egg masses in mid-October. The egg masses typically contain hundreds of eggs that will hatch. The issue is AGM are an invasive species that are highly mobile – being capable of flying up to 25 miles and eat the leaves of more than 500 different species of trees.

The AGM egg masses were found on a foreign flag merchant vessel coming from an area known to be a high risk for AGM. CBP will typically remove the egg mass and then the entire vessel was treated with a pesticide. After fumigation, CBP will then re-inspect the vessel and approve whether or not to process the cargo.

If you have had your shipment detained by Customs for AGM or other pests found in wood packaging materials contact David Hsu immediately. Time is of the essence in WPM/pest cases as CBP will ask the importer or shipper to re-export immediately. Contact David Hsu by phone/text immediately at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Huawei Docs to replace Office, Google Docs and iCloud?

apple internet technology computer
Photo by Zana Latif on Pexels.com

2 days ago, Huawei announced “Huawei Docs”, an office productivity software suite with individual software titles: Document, Spreadsheet and Presentation – clear alternatives to Microsoft’s Word, Excel and Power Point. Take a page from Google, Huawei Docs claims to support over 50 types of file formats and “Huawei Drive” allows users to save changes to the same document across all devices using their “Huawei ID.”

For Huawei users, Huawei Docs is avialable on all Huawei Mate 40 devices worldwide. While Huawei is number one in the world for most phones shipped, this new office productivity software can only increase sales.

Ultimately, I believe this move by Huawei is a result of the export ban on Huawei – preventing Huawei from accessing Google software and or Microsoft apps found on the Google play store.

Do you supply goods to Huawei and want to know if you are in compliance with the current export regulations? Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for a no-cost consultation.

Unregulated tire rims from Thailand seized.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Minnesota seized 2,500 tire rims from Thailand. The shipment from Thailand was labeled as “steel wheels” but CBP officers instead found wheel rims. Photos of the wheels were sent to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) where it was determined the company was not a registered manufacturer and therefore not admissible.

Image of non NHTSA-approved rims, source: CBP.gov

If you have had your goods seized for this or any other NHTSA violation, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com to discuss your options.