U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officials have seized upwards of $2 million in counterfeit goods in West Palm Beach. In conjunction with the West Palm Beach Trade Enforcement Team (TET), Customs officers seized numerous pallets containing hundreds of boxes of counterfeit footwear and handbags, among others goods, at the port of West Palm Beach. The merchandise was shipped from China and destined to Nassau, Bahamas. The seized merchandise has an estimated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of over $2,000,000.
Customs officers conducted an examination of cargo that was manifested as containing footwear, ladies handbags, tissue and assorted goods. CBP officers suspected various items to be counterfeit and submitted the items to CBP Import Specialists for an Intellectual Property Rights review. CBP subsequently seized the merchandise for violation of 19 USC 1526 (e) – a U.S. statute that makes it “unlawful to import into the U.S. any merchandise of foreign manufacture if such merchandise, or the label, sign, print, package, wrapper, or receptacle, bears a trademark owned by a citizen of, or by a corporation or association created or organized within, the U.S., and registered in the Patent and Trademark Office by a person domiciled in the U.S.”
While CBP did not specify which brands were subject the counterfeiting in the case at hand, recent seizures have resulted in the confiscation of counterfeit Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Piaget, and Rolex jewelry; Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Michael Kors, Porsche, and BMW goods; and Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, and Christian Dior-branded fragrances. Other seizures in recent years have revealed that Hermes Birkin bags, Christian Louboutin footwear, Ugg boots, and Nike sneakers also prove to be popular targets of counterfeiting activity.
According to a statement from the CBP’s West Palm Beach Port Director, Jennifer Connors, “Our CBP officers demonstrate their exceptional skills at identifying counterfeit goods and work well with CBP Import Specialists to protect consumers and ensure that low quality and unsafe products do not enter the commerce of the United States.”
On a typical day in Fiscal Year 2015, CBP Office of Field Operations officers around the country seize counterfeit goods totaling more than $3.7 million. Intellectual Property Rights enforcement is a CBP Priority Trade Issue. CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) released their Fiscal Year 2015 IPR Seizure Statistics and an accompanying press release on April 15, 2016. In Fiscal Year 2015, 28,865 seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods, worth an estimated MSRP value of $1.3 billion, were made.