WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection was named an IP Champion by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As a champion for Intellectual Property rights, CBP works with numerous government partners and the private sector to protect the U.S. economy and consumers from counterfeit and potentially dangerous products. Assistant Commissioner Office of International Trade Allen Gina accepted the award on behalf of the agency.
CBP was recognized for its efforts in multiple operations including counterfeit airbags and busting international counterfeit rings.
In September of 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection discovered six boxes containing 68 counterfeit airbags en route to a Chattanooga, Tennessee address. The airbags seized were counterfeit versions of most of the major automotive makers and sold online for about $57 each, far less than the cost of an actual air bag. As of February 2012, over 300 counterfeit airbags worth just over $210,000 had been seized due to the cooperative efforts of state, local, and federal law enforcement partners. This counterfeiting operation not only undermined the U.S. system of patents, copyrights, and trademarks, but it also put thousands of people at risk.
In March 2012, law enforcement officials successfully broke up two global counterfeiting schemes using undercover officers and court-authorized wire taps. 29 people were arrested for conspiring to circumvent federal border and port security measures at the Port Elizabeth-Newark Marine Terminal in New Jersey. These federal investigations also uncovered the attempted smuggling of crystal methamphetamine into the United States.
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. International partnerships such as Operation Core Systems will continue to be vital in maximizing the effectiveness of CBP's enforcement actions.