Homeland Security records largest counterfeit seizure ever – $500 million.

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A little bit of background – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is a component of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE is a federal agency under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and responsible for enforcing over 400 federal statutes within the United States.

Last Thursday (August 16th, 2018) was the culmination of a six year investigation into the importation and sale of fake luxury goods – ending with HSI officials reported seizing enough counterfeit luxury bags and belts to fill 22 shipping containers and the arrest of 33 people, all of Chinese descent.

HSI reported the seized goods included popular luxury brands “including Gucci, Tory Burch, Hermes, Coach, Burberry, Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton” along with knockoff Chanel perfume.

With an estimated loss in retail value of nearly $500 million, this seizure is the largest counterfeit seizure in history, besting the 2012 seizure of $325 million worth of fake goods.

If you have had problems with CBP seizing goods due to alleged counterfeit or trademark violations, call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes $10 million in counterfeit luxury watches.

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This past Thursday (June 28th), Philadelphia U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 699 luxury watches with a MSRP of nearly $10 million (if authentic).

The shipment was from Hong Kong, China and labeled as “lithium batteries”. Upon inspection, CBP officers found watches bearing luxury watch names such as: Tous, Hublot, Piguet, Panerai, and Fossil among others.

CBP probably questioned the shipment as luxury watches that are authentic are usually not sent from Hong Kong. In the media release, CBP officers also claimed the watch quality and packaging was poor – a typical dead give away for counterfeit goods.

If you have had any good seized by CBP on suspicion of being counterfeit, there are things we can do – call David Hsu, experienced trade and customs attorney for a free consultation and the next steps: 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes counterfeit mermaid and fashion dolls.

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As reported by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media relations office – CBP agents at the International Falls Port of Entry in Minnesota inspected a rail container and found merchandise that violated intellectual property rights (IPR) regulations.

As you are aware, CBP enforces the intellectual property rights and trademark rights of companies that register their mark with CBP. When goods are suspected of violating IPR – CBP will send photos or a sample to the property rights holder for verification. More often than not, the rights holder will notify CBP that the goods are counterfeit.

Specifically, CBP seized 60,180 mermaid and fashion dolls that contained copyright protected markings. If protected markings are found, even on a small doll accessory or only one doll, CBP will seize items as they had in this case. CBP calculates the seizure value based on the total MSRP if the items were authentic. Here, CBP in Minnesota claims the seized goods total approximately $601,198.

While the CBP media release doesn’t specifically mention the brand name, based on 60,180 dolls having a combined value of $601,198 and based on my experience as a parent to a daughter who loves Barbie – the seized dolls are counterfeit of the standard grocery store Barbie doll for about $10.

So what happens after a seizure? CBP will seize the goods and give the importer of record several options. CBP may also access civil penalties to the IOR.

If you or anyone you know has had items seized by CBP for IPR violations, or if you have any trade and customs law questions – contact experienced customs attorney, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

 

Philadelpha CBP seize 100 counterfeit Yeti mugs.

Yeti Screengrab

Screengrab of the Yeti.com website.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on June 19th, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized 100 counterfeit mugs branded with the name of the poular cooler company Yeti.

The items were shipped from Hong Kong, China in April and labeled “fishing reel iron products”. CBP noted the “poor packaging” and “substandard quality” and detained the shipment.

After a shipment is detained, Customs will usually send a sample or photos to the trademark/word mark holder to verify authenticity of the mark. In this case, Yeti likely replied and told CBP the items were counterfeit.

In the event the trademark holder notifies CBP of the unauthorized use of a registered mark, CBP will seize the items and send a “Notice of Seizure” to the importer of record.

Philadelphia CBP has been busy with five counterfeit seizures in the past 3 months. Prior seizures included counterfeit jewelry and luxury watches.

If you have had your shipments seized by Customs, and you receive a “Notice of Seizure”, you should take action – call experienced seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by  email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. CBP seizures do not just go away and you may expose yourself and your company to personal, criminal and civil liability – call today!

 

 

 

 

Cash seizures by CBP during busy Memorial Day and tips on what you need to do if you have had your cash seized.

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CBP media release noted multiple drug arrests over the Memorial Day weekend at the Buffalo area (Peace Bridge and Lewiston Ports of Entry). Most of the incidents involved travelers with illegal substances and arrests on several US travelers for outstanding warrants.

Lastly, CBP seized $20,000 in currency from a Canadian citizen for failure to report currency over $10,000.

The media release indicates CBP seized the currency and “the traveler was refused entry into the United States”.

What? At least let the guy in –

If you are ever traveling and have your currency seized, be sure to do the following:

  1. Give Customs and Border Protection your real address. They will send you a certified letter.
  2. Cooperate with Customs officials.
  3. Disclose all the money you have up front.
  4. You will be asked to sign a FinCen form, sign it only after you write down all the money you really have.

Here are some other tips:

  1. CBP will seize all currency, doesn’t matter if it is in US dollars or in currency of another country.
  2. Money orders, checks also count, it is not just cash that is counted.
  3. It doesn’t matter if you are leaving or entering the country – you have to declare the currency anytime you ENTER or LEAVE the US.
  4. Check your mail within 1-2 weeks of your currency seizure.
  5. Do not ignore the letter you will receive from Customs.
  6. Call experienced Currency Seizure attorney David Hsu immediately at 832-896-6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes prohibited ivory products in Seattle.

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CBP agriculture specialists at Sea-Tac
found ivory in the luggage of a couple
arriving from the Philippines on May 11. Photo Credit: CBP

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release dated May 22nd, Agriculture Specialists at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport discovered a variety of prohibited ivory products (carved tusks) in the luggage of a husband and wife who arrived on a flight from the Philippines on May 11.

An x-ray and search of the traveler’s belongings revealed 34 pieces of carved elephant ivory, two carved hippopotamus tusks and two carved warthog tusks. The agriculture specialists contacted inspectors from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who inspected and seized the items. The couple also received a $500 fine for transporting the items in violation of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

If you or anyone you know has had a CBP seizure, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes $3 million in counterfeit jewelry and watches.

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In the second major seizure for the month of May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Philadelphia seized 64 pieces on April 3rd from a shipment coming from Hong Kong. If authentic, this seizure and a prior March seizure result in a combined manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of over $3 million.

The packaging indicated the shipment contained bangles and arrived from Hong Kong. With the large amounts of shipments from overseas, CBP is unable to inspect every package – instead will focus on inspecting shipments sent from places known to counterfeit items. Upon inspection of these bangles, CBP also found the counterfeit jewelry would be in packaging of poor quality.

This time, CBP officers found the package containing bracelets, earrings and rings bearing the Cartier and Tiffany brands.

If you or anyone you know has had their shipment seized by Customs, contact experienced Customs seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. Customs will seek civil and sometimes criminal penalties for importers that violate intellectual property rights – call today.

CBP seizes $107,360 in unreported currency from traveler headed to Jordan.

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Courtesy CBP.gov Website

Another day, another CBP media release of a currency seizure. This time the seizure occurred at Chicago O’Hare (ORD). On April 11th, a traveler departing ORD to Jordan was intercepted by CBP and found to be concealing $107,360 in sealed shirt bags.

31 USC 5316 indicates that all travelers must report currency in the amount of $10,000 or more. Travelers carrying $10,000 or more need to complete a FinCEN Form 105, also known as the Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments (CMIR).

If you have had currency seized, call David Hsu for immediate assistance, 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. We can assist clients all over the world, don’t delay call today.

$233,000 Worth of Counterfeit Watches Seized by Customs.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on March 1st; CBP officers in Philadelphia seized 54 counterfeit designer brand watches.

CBP officers examined the parcel on January 23rd that was shipped from Hong Kong. The packing list indicated the shipment as containing “watch samples” and upon further inspection, CBP found watches bearing name brands such as Armani, Hublot, Omega,
Rado, Rolex and others. If authentic, the MSRP for the watches totaled $233,209.

As you may or may not know, CBP is tasked with enforcing the intellectual property laws of companies who register their brand with Customs. In this instance, CBP officers with the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEE) inspected the watches, worked with the trademark holders and confirmed the watches were counterfeit.

Some of the tell-tale signs of counterfeit watches include but are not limited to: poor quality packaging of the watch, watch construction (weight, dial movement) and the origin of shipment (from Hong Kong).

CBP frequently seizes counterfeit goods and on a typical day in 2017, CBP seized $3.3 million worth of products for intellectual property rights violations.

If you or someone you know has had your import seized due to counterfeit or trademark violations, contact experienced Customs attorney, David Hsu. Customs can penalize importers civil and criminal penalties, and time there are certain time limitations – call  832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com today.