Counterfeit AirPods seized by Customs.

Seized TWS headphones, source:

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 We are based in Houston but represent clients nationwide and abroad. Call for your free consultation.

That stinks! Customs seizes counterfeit perfume.

crop sensual woman spraying perfume
Photo by Alina Vilchenko on

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at the Los Angeles/Long Beach (LA/LB) seaport seized a shipment of counterfeit perfumes valued over $366,000 if authentic.

The shipment of over 80 cartons from Hong Kong contained 3,739 bottles with brand names such as Dior, Chanel and Paco Rabanne according to import specialists with the Consumer Products Mass Merchandising Center (CPMM). The CPMM will contact the trademark or intellectual property rights holder and seize the goods if they are told the goods are not authentic.

If you have had your shipment seized for alleged trademark violations – contact David Hsu to discuss your options by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at

Counterfeit AirPods seized in Houston – over $1.6 million worth.

Seized AirPods, source:

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP working in Houston in late January seized counterfeit electronics – including Apple’s “AirPods” worth more than $1.6 million dollars of MSRP value. According to the media release – the importer of record abandoned the merchandise, meaning CBP will destroy the goods.

Do you have to abandon your goods if they have been seized for intellectual property rights violations?
No, you do not – the other alternative is to petition for the release of the goods if you know they are authentic. While a petition does not guarantee a return of your goods, it gives you the opportunity to present your information and argue why the goods are authentic to CBP.

The remainder of the media release reiterated CBP’s arguments against counterfeit goods – (1) may be produced from forced labor, (2) economic harm to the trademark holder, (3) unsafe products that may cause injuries to the consumer.

If you or anyone you know has had your shipment seized for alleged intellectual property or trademark violations – contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at

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

Seized cases. Source:

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

CBP Half-Million Dollars in Counterfeit Electronics and Dental Gels

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized a half-million dollars’ worth of counterfeit electronics in Philadelphia in mid-April. The two shipments from China contained more than 20,000 pieces of 35 different counterfeit consumer electronics, such as video gaming systems, speakers, watches, cameras, scanners, DVD players, headphones, chargers and other electronics. Besides the consumer electronics, they also seized counterfeit injectable dental gels.

The MSRP of the seized goods, if authentic are estimated to be approximately $519,510.

If you have had your good seized by Customs for suspicion of being counterfeit, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text 24/7 at 832-896-6288 or by email at

CBP posts their 2018 intellectual property rights seizure statistics.

PHL Phones1H 072619

Seized Asus and LG Phones. Source:

Earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection posted their 2018 intellectual property rights statistics. The annual report lists statistics for the products that infringe upon US trademark and copy rights or othersize subject to exclusion orders involving various agencies such as CBP, ICE, and HSI.
Here’s a summary:
1. How much product comes into the US? 11 million containers by sea, 10 million containers by truck, 3 million by rail and 250,000,000 by cargo/postal/express pacakages through the air.
2. 33,810 total seizures (333 less than FY 2017’s 34,143).
3. Total MSRP of seized goods 1.4 billion (1.2 billion in FY 2017).
4. ICE-HSI arrested 381 people, obtained 296 indictments, 260 convictions.
5. CBP’s Integrated Trade Targeting Networking (ITTN) conducted over 120 operations and seized 4,891 shipments of IPR-infringing goods with a total MSRP of $94 million.
6. Investigations by CBP’s Center of Excellence and Expertise totaled 24, with a MSRP of seized goods totaling over $11.5 million.
7. The “Truth Behind Counterfeits” public awareness campaign to educate the public on the negative impacts of counterfeit products included major billboards at airports and online ads on travel websites – it is estimated the campaign generated over 200 million views.
8. In 2018, CBP enforced over 17,641 active trademark and copyright recordations, including 2,289 new recordations and 812 renewals of expiring recordations.
9. There were over 161 million express shipments and 475 million shipped through international mail.
10. Over 90% of all IPR violations occurred among the international mail and express environments.
11. 18% of all seizures were wearing apparel/accessories, footwear came in number 2 at 14%.
12. Counterfeit watches and jewelry was the most seized product, totaling 44% of all seizures with a MSRP almost $618 million.
13. China was the number one trading partner with the most seized goods at 54% of the total number of seized goods.
The full report can be downloaded here:
If you have received a letter from Customs for alleged intellectual property rights violations, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu on his cell at 832-896-6288, or by email at or

CBP Seizes $253k in Counterfeit Edison speakers from China.

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Image of seized speakers, source:

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers seized 1,626 counterfeit Edison Professional speakers in Philadelphia earlier this week. If the Edison speakers were authentic, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price would have been approximately $253,572.

The speakers arrived in two shipments from China destined for an address in Los Angeles. CBP suspected the speakers were counterfeit because of poor packaging and markings. CBP’s Electronics Centers for Excellence and Expertise, confirmed the Bluetooth markings on the speakers were counterfeit.

My guess is these speakers were to be sold through the “white van” scams where people sell supposedly high end speakers or counterfeit speakers from a van. The pitch is that the speakers are “leftovers” from an installation and the installers were told to get rid of them.

CBP claims counterfeit goods cause revenue loss, damage the US economy and threaten the health and safety of Americans. CBP claims in 2018 over $3.7 million worth of good were seized daily for intellectual property rights (IPR) violations.

In our practice, most of the IPR are for fake markings such as the “UL” or “Bluetooth” or “USB” logos in addition to our frequent seizures of Apple and Samsung phones. Protip – if you import legos, that’s fine, but do not include the minifigure head – it will be seized.

If you have had a Customs seizure for IPR violations, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at,

CBP Officers seize counterfeit iPhones.


Photo of seized iPhones at Pembina. Source:

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

CBP seizes wall charges bearing counterfeit “UL” markings.


By Underwriters Laboratories (Underwriters Laboratories) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A U. S. Customs and Border Protection media release today reported that CBP officers at the Port of New York/Newark seized wall chargers with counterfeit UL markings.

What is UL?
Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is a worldwide safety consulting and certification company based in Illinois. UL will test products and issue a UL mark. The UL mark means that someone from UL has tested a representative sample of a product and such product meets defined requirements based on UL’s published and nationally recognized safety standards.

Back to the seized wall chargers –
The seizure occurred back in late September when CBP officers inspection a shipment of imported merchandise for possible Intellectual Property Rights violations. Import Specialists from the CBP’s Electronics Center of Excellence and Expertise (eCEE) determined that 150,000 wall chargers had counterfeit UL markings.

The total MSRP of the wall chargers, if genuine is estimated to be $2.7 million.

My thoughts?
Customs places liability for counterfeit goods on the Importer of Record. It is important for the IOR to verify with the shipper that goods do not contain any counterfeit markings and meet all other requirements before importation to the US. This is especially true since the IR bears all the risk and loss from seizures for IPR violations.

If you or anyone you know has a customs seizure or received a penalty for IPR violations, contact experienced customs and trade attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at

CBP seizes counterfeit dolls and toys with excessive lead levels.

aerial view photography of container van lot

Photo by Tom Fisk on

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