EL PASO, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 39 counterfeit Michael Kors purses earlier this month. The domestic value of the phony designer handbags is $12,285.
“Counterfeit products can threaten the health and safety of American consumers and our economic and national security,” said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. “CBP officers will continue their efforts to identify and stop poor quality and illegal counterfeit goods from entering the legitimate market place.”
The events leading to the seizure began in January when CBP officers selected an international shipment from Hong Kong for an inspection. CBP initiated an examination of the parcel and quickly identified several suspect handbags.
CBP officers took custody of the suspect bags. CBP import specialists examined the bags and forwarded photos of the designer purses to the CBP Intellectual Property Branch in Washington, D.C. for further review. CBP intellectual property rights (IPR) personnel determined that the bags were of inferior quality and workmanship and that the markings on the bags were identical or substantially indistinguishable from registered and recorded trademarks held by Michael Kors.
El Paso CBP personnel were instructed to seize the counterfeit goods and issue a notice of seizure to the consignee on March 10. The items were seized for violation of 19 USC 1526(e) merchandise bearing counterfeit marks. The case was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for investigation.
CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive IPR enforcement program. CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR violative goods.
The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety and the U.S. economy.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.