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CBP, French Customs Seize Critical Counterfeit Electronic Components

Release Date: 
May 22, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In partnership with French Customs, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently completed Operation Core Systems, a bilateral intellectual property rights enforcement operation that targeted counterfeit critical computer and other electronic components, including semiconductors, computer networking equipment, hard drives, and memory cards, which are a threat to both the U.S. and France. Conducted from Nov. 1, 2012 through April 30, the operation resulted in the seizure of 480 shipments of potentially harmful counterfeit electronic components.

"CBP is proud to work with our French Customs partners on such an important issue," said CBP Assistant Commissioner Al Gina. "Intellectual property rights violations have the potential to cause great harm to our country's economy as well as the American public's health and safety. Building these types of international partnerships will continue to become increasingly important to facilitating a safe and secure flow of trade."

"The Core Systems operation gave us a better understanding of the global threat presented by counterfeit critical electronic components, the opportunity to cooperate with the right holders, and to make significant seizures," said François Richard, French Customs Attaché in Washington D.C. "It is the third bilateral IPR enforcement operation organized by our two agencies, and for sure not the last."

While combating a growing threat to both industry and individual consumers, the operation highlights an expanded level of cooperation that has proven increasingly productive between CBP and its international partners. Customs leaders from both nations have been encouraged by the results and are anxious to continue working together.

Critical electronic components are indispensable to modern government, industrial, business, financial, transportation, education, security and health care infrastructures as well as general consumer use.

Counterfeit components lack manufacturing standards and have much higher failure rates. These faulty products not only create extra costs for businesses and individuals, but can also corrupt the computer networks of critical infrastructure and potentially jeopardize public safety.

In response to the overall threat, CBP has designated IPR enforcement as a priority trade issue and devotes significant resources to collecting advanced information from the trade and targeting high-risk IPR-infringing shipments.

In fiscal year 2012, computers and their accessories ranked seventh on CBP's top 10 list of IPR seizures.