Thousands of counterfeit handbags were seized by federal officers at Miami’s seaport earlier this month in a shipment from China. The 2,300 counterfeit Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags, which have an estimated value in excess of $1 million, were found in 20 cartons that were not declared in a shipment of 825 cartons of clothes, shoes, trousers and handbags. This marks one of the largest seizures this year at the Miami Seaport.
Customs and Border Protection officials say a recent review confirmed there were 1,200 fake Gucci handbags and 1,195 Louis Vuitton handbags in the container. Investigators began examining cartons containing the handbags after noting that they were not declared on any import documents. The shipment included 825 other cartons of clothes, shoes and other apparel.
Last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Miami seaport seized 10,788 counterfeit Gucci and Coach handbags arriving in a shipment from China. Had the goods been genuine, the designer handbags would have an estimated Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $4,904,160.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers and Import Specialists assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex seized 3,960 high-fashion belts bearing counterfeit Hermès listed trademark. If genuine, the seized belts had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $3,227,400.
What is a counterfeit? Well, counterfeiting is a trademark term that refers to the practice of manufacturing, selling or otherwise dealing in goods, often of inferior quality, under a trademark that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from a registered trademark, without the approval of the registered trademark owner. In order for use to amount to counterfeiting, the goods or services are those for which the genuine mark is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
This is a separate and distinct practice from manufacturing and/or selling trademark infringing goods, which are those that bear a trademark that is confusingly similar mark but not identical. So, an example of counterfeiting is the unauthorized sale of bags bearing the Gucci logo by a brand that is not Gucci – because Gucci has registered its marks in the class of goods that includes handbags.